Alyce Santoroborn 1968, Englewood, New Jerseylives and works in Texas
Alyce Santoro collected the ubiquitous audio tape from discarded cassettes and devised a process through which the disposed of material can be woven into a new textile. The resulting garments constructed from the new fabric are functional, retaining their ability to make sound. Her Sonic Fabric involves the use of machines in multiple steps of the design process. First, the raw material was once part of a mechanical process; second, the tape is "woven" into a textile using an antique machine; and third, the final resulting pieces make sound, when specially-designed tape-head apparatus are rubbed against the fabric.
Santoro's process manages to merge past, present and future in an unexpected way. The designs appear futuristic, but the raw material used in their creation is a thing of the not-too-distant past. Virtually obsolete now, cassette tapes were once the latest technology for audio recording and playback. Of course, today, they are retro and lo-tech. As an added dimension, Santoro works with a mill in New England to weave the tape into fabric using an antique machine. The resulting designs speak to this hierarchy of technology, and reminds us that machines need not be the latest advancement in order to advance the design process.
About her work:
The Sonic Fabric, its origins and inspiration:
The process of making and designing the garments: