Solar for the Senses: a talk by Pauline van Dongen
Traditional, fossil-based energy systems are typically placed out of sight, and as a result we treat them mindlessly and take their seemingly endless supply for granted. The same thing often seems to be happening with solar energy, when silicon panels are placed on roofs and in the landscape. Yet solar has the potential to get very close to us and thereby invite much more engagement and generate cultural values. Like the rays of the sun solar surfaces and objects in our everyday environment can imbue our experience of the world with meaning. So, the question that arises is how can design help make solar energy be a personal matter by making it tangible, engaging and actionable.
Pauline van Dongen (1986) is an award-winning designer and researcher working at the intersection of textiles and technology. She explores human-garment relationships and alternative fashion (design) practices through the development of smart textiles and clothing. Her design studio received international recognition with projects such as the Solar Shirt, Phototrope and Issho. By integrating interactive materials such as solar cells, light, sensors and haptic actuators, these garments enhance the sensory and emotional experience of clothing and reveal the nurturing potential of textiles. In 2019 she received her doctoral degree at Eindhoven University of Technology.
Pauline has been a pioneer in creating solar garments and textiles since 2013. Her studio is currently developing Suntex, an architectural textile with woven flexible solar cells with the aim to reupholster our built environment.
Pauline is co-founder of The Solar Movement and The Solar Biennale.
Photo: © Tengbeh Kamara