Did you know you could hear denim talk? To celebrate all the unlimited possibilities of denim, we have worked on an exclusive, and never done before project for Milan Design Week and extracted the sound of denim. 10 technologies, 10, brands, 10 sound samples, is what all visitors should take away from their coming to the ISKO space. We have partnered with ten brands including HUGO, Replay, 7 For All Mankind, Blue de Gênes, Dovetail Workwear, Marithé + François Girbaud, Madewell, O’Neill, Taylor Stitch and Tiziano Guardini and created “Denim Sound Textures”: an immersive and interactive space where you can see sculptures and activate the sound of different denim technologies, as well as the interpretation brands gave of ISKO’s proprietary technologies. A multi-sensorial celebration of denim with a lounge room where you can relax and enjoy sound artist Chiara Luzzana’s Denim Soundscape, the musical result of all the different pieces collected in the project.
The sounds extracted from the different types of denim can stimulate different senses. The installation includes ISKO Pop™, ISKO Scratch & Jean™, ISKO Jool™, ISKO Cosy™, ISKO™ Straight Stretch, ISKO Future Face™, ISKO Reform™, ISKO Blue Skin™ and ISKO™ Selvedge. The space, developed by DWA Design Studio, shapes the visual area keeping the experience of the visitor in mind: each sculpture, when touched, emits a specific acoustic pattern. Sound samples from different denim technologies show their specific characteristics: the sound can be rough, fluid, round, soft, warm or enveloping.
But what does it really mean to make denim sing? And why is the experience of sound so important? Sara Lenzi, music and sound installations expert, writes for us a poetic and factual essay on sound and how it was put in relation with denim, again, for the first time ever.
Before (all was sound) by Sara Lenzi
In the womb, only hearing and touch (and, at a less sophisticated level, taste) reach a mature state. Sight needs time and adaptation - to the light outside, to the shapes of objects, to the movement of figures. Oh! If we only could remember how life was, back in that cuddling darkness, where all was sound, and sound only. Before images, little by little, conquered our sensory space, relegating the soundscape we live immersed in to the background, to a series of blurred inputs in our daily lives.
Pause for a second, close your eyes and scratch your head just above the ear, you will be suddenly reminded of how intimate and close our relationship with sound is. Isn’t that scratchy sound louder than the music we are listening to through our headphones? To give a reference, the level of a normal conversation or background TV is around 60dB. A human sneeze easily reaches 90dB. The sound of ourselves biting chips as heard from our inner ear can reach 63dB of intensity. It might seem terribly annoying when we are trying to follow a conversation on TV, it’s actually one of the main reasons we find pleasure in food. When a big company tried to change the recipe to make a famous ice cream brand’s chocolate coat to break less (and fall less on our carpets), they were drown in protests by customers: the new coat did not break, therefore the ice-cream had lost its iconic sound used in the product’s advertisement too. The sound of pleasure. A fundamental element of the inextricable fabric that builds our relationship with that particular ice cream. The journey of an instant that blends together for eternity sound, taste, touch, the goose bumps on our skin. For a moment, we are back in the womb and nothing else exists…
The Denim Soundscape artist and sound designer Chiara Luzzana embarked on a similar journey and explored the hidden fabric and relationship we establish, through sound and touch, with one of the most intimate, personal, culturally charged artefacts of our human lives: denim. Clothes talk to us as much as we, through them, talk to ourselves and to people around us. And if it’s true that, with the designer and theorist Donald Norman, we establish with the products we choose to use and own not a functional but an emotional relationship, then the reasons why we love or hate our everyday clothes is the story of a life-long love affair. Denim is a symbol of cultural revolution, hyper-resistant work garments, never-ending high-tech innovations, “Friday is Denim” a colleague at the office once told me…and who does not have a piece of denim down memory lane, a bag, a trouser, a jacket, a pair of sneakers.
Chiara Luzzana listened to the hidden voice of ten different denim fabrics, all ISKO proprietary material through contact microphones; stethoscope microphones; hand - made temperature microphones (to capture the sound of evaporating water drops); shotgun microphones; binaural microphones (ear-shaped, they are used to record sounds as we hear them, in “3D”); sphere microphones (inserted into metal tubes), Chiara dived into the invisible matter of the relationship between sound and touch, bringing the unconscious to the surface.
A sound explorer, her tools guided her ears through the microscopic world of ISKO technologies, where each different fabric has a distinct character, a personality: from rigid to a modifiable denim surface, from performance-based technical fabrics (Arquas collection) to wool blends (Jool), or soft versions such as Cozy.
Touching, caressing, scratching, tearing, manipulating the fabric inside a glass cylinder, playing the fabric’s wires with a violin bow…
Denim Soundscape is Chiara Luzzana’s contribution to the week-long installation at Milan Design Week 2019 at Salone dei Tessuti in partnership with Wallpaper, their theme being Love. And who doesn’t love denim? ISKO’s Denim Sound Textures – project, ten ISKO technologies, ten sculptures and sound samples, ten brands, blend once again our most ancestral senses with ISKO’s unique taste for innovation. Beyond what you see on the surface of the fabric, the creativity, the expertise, the seriousness put at work, celebrate a cult material as well as propelling it into the future, unexpectedly, keeping it always exciting.
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