Technology as a creative material
E-textiles and its derivations in the field of the visual arts



The present study is the result of a theoretical-practical research. It examines how the improvements that has taken place in the field of e-textiles provide new opportunities for research and learning in what visual arts concerns, with the use of digital technologies and electronics.

Through a historical approach, one of the most important aspects in the development of this work is the assessment of the challenges and trends that the rise of digital culture has meant. Fundamentally, how the vertiginous development of science and technology, the new forms of cultural consumption such as Web 2.0, and the different social movements have been translated into the social state, also affecting the educational and artistic fields. Likewise, this work assesses how the research conducted in the 1990s in the field of interaction design applied to clothing, derived in the field of studies of e-textiles, and how this field would become one of studies suitable for the development of new educational approaches that favor the theorization and integration of art, within the scientific and technological disciplines.


The goal of this study is to examine the emergence of new educational approaches that favor the theorization and integration of art and design in scientific and technological disciplines. It conforms an analysis of the different educational and artistic opportunities that this situation represents within the context of digital culture.

The specific objective of this research focuses on documenting and analyzing the recent developments that have taken place in the scope of electronic textile research and wearable technology. Especially, how these progresses have favored an opening of the field of e-textiles in the educational sphere, for which an outline of the artistic, social and economic context is required, to see how they led to the development of such a situation. The issue is to define the framework in which we will later on uphold the emergence of new creative and educational approaches in the use of e-textiles applied to the visual arts. Thus, with this assessment in mind, we will defend the hypothesis of the emergence of a new understanding of technology as a creative material. This new interpretation refers to the creative capacity of e-textiles practices to entail the idea of materiality. In the same way, it makes allusion to the creativity that implies to bring closer the technological tools of Web 2.0 itself, and the learning by doing training method. In addition, another key objective of this study is to trace the historical, artistic, social and economic contexts that led to the development of this situation. Thus, the field of e-textiles is presented as a multidisciplinary area that has been offering multiple opportunities amongst disciplines lately.

Finally, this dissertation expresses the desire to seek fertile ground to unfold new contexts, where artistic and creative practices can favor the learning of programming and electronics. We find the approach of this research project relevant to generate new resources in this area.


This investigation has intended to point out the emergence of new educational and artistic opportunities, both of them linked to the field of e-textiles in a cooperative and interactive cultural frame, typical in the digital age. The recent accessibility of the technological experience has been considered to assess this approach. This state, together with the artist creativity and the access to new technological materials, has managed to set up a new area of investigation and exploration for the development of new resources in this sector.

This has been concluded from the individual practice of a designer, teacher and artist that manipulates innovative methods, as the author of this research has carried out a field work in the area of the e-textiles and wearable technology in the latest years. Hence, she intended to demonstrate how traditional techniques such as painting can ease the approach of programming and electronics with this investigation. Especially with the purpose of emphasizing a rising model of investigation in which feasible new patterns are discerned for the disbandment of the pedagogical isolation that visual arts often undergo.

Anyhow, the essential nature of this research has spotlighted not only the field work but also the large investigation in bibliographic sources. The aim is to point out the emergence of a new historical context that appears to be ideal for the development of new ways of education from a cross-discipline approach. To that effect, it has been decisive to establish a rising paradigm in which DIY practices, new materials arousing and tools of open source code allow a diversification and a linking of tech learning and innovation, together with the creative capacity and plastic and visual expression.