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  • Bolor Amgalan

7in7 Day 1: The Infinite Rope

For Day 1 of our 7in7 exercise, I decided to quickly materialize an idea I had a couple of days ago and spent an entire evening talking to my brother about. I'll call this prototype The Infinite Rope.

Macrame is a type of textile technique whereby knots are formed with a rope or another form of textile material. The knots are all interconnected and together they can create anything from wall hangings to wearable (and comfortable) clothing. Depending on how the knots are tied, various aesthetics can be achieved, as well, the final structure can be as stiff as a chair or as soft as a piece of cloth.

For this prototype I really wanted to experiment with macrame as the construction of a macrame structure happens in a modular fashion. Knots are added one after the other enabling for an easy way to keep track of the progress of the whole piece and multiple people can collaborate on a project since there are clear pause and resume moments in the piece.

I imagined a virtual object making process whereby a piece of rope is manipulated repeatedly in real life while the structure resulting from this action gets created in virtual space. The rope can be manipulated infinitely and will never run out because of the way it has been designed. In the below video, two short pieces of rope are connected together by a magnet. When the rope pieces are pulled apart, the knot that is formed on the rope gets undone. This allows the macrame crafter to continue creating and undoing knots, while simultaneously on the screen (or in VR), a macrame knot is being formed out of a virtual rope to create a continuous macrame structure.

I imagine this making process framed as a live performance whereby X number of macrame crafters are on stage, creating virtual macrame objects by manipulating physical rope pieces. A machine learning model has been trained to recognize each craftsperson's hand gestures when they tie a knot with the physical rope. With every 'real' knot formed on stage, virtual rope knotting is happening simultaneously in VR. When the virtual macrame is finished, the craftspeople take a bow and leave the stage. The virtual objects they have created then get auctioned off to online buyers or the audience.

This is an alternative form of making for and in virtual spaces. But it is also an alternative way of attaching value to virtual objects through the means of time and skill investment, as well as an idea for a crowd-sourced craft quality verification system.

Initial sketch

Final pieces - two short rope pieces with magnets at both ends

For tomorrow's 7in7, I think I would like to experiment with either leap motion or explore the concept of crowd-sourced verification system more. I have been reading a book on the creative uses of blockchain, and have begun learning about the Blockchain Art Collective which is a movement of artists using the blockchain to verify a work of art's origin, authenticity, and journey. I'm not sure what I will make, but these are the concepts I would like to work with. Clarifying the intent and audience of my project are my priorities.


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