Material Healing:fabrics, materials, and substances changing our concept of remedy

Leonardo LASER Arizona State University
Artist Talk with Panel Discussion
Material Healing:fabrics, materials, and substances changing our concept of remedy
Leonardo LASER
Arizona State University

Material Healing: Fabrics, Materials, and Substances Changing Our Concept of Remedy

an exploration of how textiles are changing our understanding of healing, cooperation, and well-being

Presenters/Panelists: Laura Splan, Dr. Galina Mihaleva, and Gissel Marquez Alcaraz

Curated and moderated by Pamela Winfrey

Leonardo LASER Sciart Talks
presented by Arizona State University

Wednesday, March 30, 2022
9am (AZ time) / Noon Eastern Time On Zoom

The Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) is Leonardo/ISAST's global salon series featuring evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations with an audience.

We all know how it feels to be in clothing that makes us feel good. The whisper of silk against our skin, the coziness of our favorite cotton sweatpants, the scarf that swaddles our neck just so. Now, artists and scientists are exploring textiles, fashion, and base materials as not only materials that passively make us feel better but as active participants in our health. Artists Galina Mihaleva and Laura Splan and biologist Gissel Marquez Alcaraz have been developing vests that can detect breast cancer, exploring materials that have cooperative properties, and creating collaborative textiles art in remote encounters with strangers during the pandemic. Textiles are no longer just a matter of fashion but they are fashioning our health.

Bring your favorite piece of clothing or textiles that make you feel better or add in healing and be prepared to give us a one sentence explanation about why.

Panelist Biographies

Laura Splan is a transdisciplinary artist working at the intersections of science, technology, and culture. Her research-driven projects connect hidden artifacts of biotechnology to everyday lives through tactile experiences and sensory encounters. Her work invites an investigation of detail, calling into question how things are made and what they are made of. Using a range of traditional and new media techniques, she reconsiders perceptions and representations of the body to examine cultural constructions of self and other that are often in conflict with our biomedical realities. Her conceptually based projects destabilize notions of the presence and absence of bodies, evoking the mutability of categories that delineate their status. Material and process serve as conceptual underpinnings and catalysts for speculation within the narrative implications of the work.

Galina Mihaleva, Ph.D., is a costume, fashion, and wearable technology designer, and artist. She is an Associate Professor at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University, where she teaches Fashion and Wearable Technology and Materials Matters: Materials and Techniques. Prior to joining ASU, Galina directed the Lab of Open Matters LOOM and taught at the school of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University for eight years, focusing on interdisciplinary research and blurring the lines between fashion, engineering and material science. Her artistic practice and academic research deal primarily with the dialogue between body and dress, driven by the idea of having both a physical and a psychological relationship with a garment as a responsive clothing - wearable technology.

Gissel Marquez Alcaraz is an Evolutionary Biology PhD student working with Dr. Carlo Maley and Dr. Athena Aktipis at Arizona State University. Gissel has been studying kombucha and the bacterial and yeast interactions that take place within the system for nearly four years. Although Gissel continues her research with kombucha, she is in charge of other projects looking at how the microbiome affects cancer progression and cancer across multiple species. Recently, Gissel has started working with Dr. Galina Mihaleva attempting to make a biodegradable material using Kombucha. Together they plan on putting the biofilm that grows in kombucha through experiments to make it, water resistant, durable and accessible for making biodegradable textiles and materials.