Hillevi Munthe (Norway)

About the artist

Hillevi Munthe (NO) – artistic coordinator. Hillevi Munthe is a Norwegian textile artist and art historian. She was the initiator and the manager for Soft Technology at Atelier Nord, a project that investigated electronic textiles and textile electronics in artistic practices. She has also produced the Piksel festival amongst others.


Exhibited works

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Attempts, Failures, Trials and Errors: curated by Hillevi Munthe and Tincuta Heinzel

Within the realm of electronic and smart textiles there have been promising technological investigations that never quite managed to reach their potential. However, despite these disappointments, industrial and academic research, as well as artistic inquiry, continue to explore the possibilities of electronic and smart textiles. Rather than presenting this endeavour as “the next big thing,” “Attempts, Failures, Trials and Errors” project seeks to understand the various stages of its development, to explore forgotten attempts and perspectives, less successful paths, less mediatized wearable technologies and e-textiles projects. In order to achieve that, we launched a call for trials and failed works, test-bench prototypes and samples, as well as for rejected projects and scientific papers. By collecting them into a “catalogue of failures” the project answers a deep need for a critical perspective that will take into account social, economic, sustainable, ethical and legal issues of technological development. This collection of “attempts, failures, trials and errors” it is not intended to praise the failures, nor to minimize the successes of wearables and e-textiles. By questioning the idea of failure and success, the project uses art’s capacity to critically and, at the same time, poetically and self-ironically, address contemporary challenges and concerns.

In the age of fast prototyping, publish-or-perish, and start-up competitions, our project is also an attempt to reflect on the present technological boom and innovation obsolescence, encouraging an ecological perspective which will take into consideration the whole cycle of conception, consumption, ageing, and degradation of technology. At the crossroads between artistic, anthropological, science and technology inquiry, this “catalogue of failures” will serve as starting point for the establishment of a consultancy agency for wearable technologies and e-textiles, which will bring together the D.I.Y community, the academia and the business environment from a broad European context. If the “catalogue of failures” will become the first product to be commercialized, a database will offer materials for research related to previous projects, and help set up a network of specialists from the field. By exchanging information and launching critical debates, such a platform could, in the near future, play the role of an independent organism that will help to forge professional codes of conduct related to the development of wearable technologies and e-textile products.

Tincuta Heinzel (RO/DE) – project coordinator. Tincuta is an artist, designer and curator who worked in the field of electronic textiles for more then 10 years. After textile design and cultural anthropology studies, she completed a PhD at Paris 1 University Pantheon-Sorbonne (France) on the aesthetics of electronic and reactive textiles. Currently she is a Fulbright Scholar in Nanotextiles Laboratory at Cornell University (USA) and visiting professor at UAUIM Bucharest (RO).