POP takes an inventive approach
to the study of invention
RESEARCHING. We combine big data and in-depth visual & document analysis with ethnography, interviews and practice-research
RECONSTRUCTING. We are making & wearing a collection of wearable tech enables us to travel into the past and future
RE-IMAGINING. Emerging socio-technical, political and sensory insights will be shared via events, experiments and performances
is not a place to make new patents,
but to understand them better;
to take them apart
and piece them back together in new ways
takes reference from a long research tradition in the history of science & technology studies where theoretical and creative experiments like ‘reconstructions’ have been situated.
``When dress is pulled apart from the body/self, as it is in the costume museum, we grasp only a fragment, a partial snapshot of dress, and our understanding is thus limited.``
Entwistle, J. 2015. The Fashioned Body: Fashion, Dress & Modern Social Theory, Polity Press. pp.10
In addition to analysing inventions via theme and material artefacts, we will directly engage with patents though reconstruction. This involves treating patents as ethnographic fieldsites, exploring the relationship between translations (text – garment – experience), and making, wearing and inviting others into the research via public engagement activities.
Feminist historians have long pointed out how women’s domestic arts have been hidden from history (Tucker 1987; Burman 1999; Burman and Turbin 2003; Tamboukou 2016), so by locating sewing in a lab setting, and rendering visible the processes behind invention, we will make a political intervention about the in/visibility of gendered forms of knowledge.
From 2019-2024, the POP team will expand ways of mapping and investigating ‘acts of citizenship’ via clothing patents in four inter-related Work Packages (WP).
WPI involves quantitative analysis of patents archived under ‘wearing apparel’ from 1820-2020.
WPII involves in-depth critical analysis of emerging themes in patent documents and related archival materials.
WP III maps the project directly onto bodies. Here we directly engage with patents by reconstructing (making & wearing) at least 50 key artefacts.
WP IV interviews individuals engaged in inventing clothing. We are interested in how contemporary inventors conceive of citizenship today.