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Soft Systems

Catherine Mondoa

Catherine Mondoa is an animate materials designer. Her work challenges the idea of static materials and envisions smart biomaterials that work in parallel with their synthetic counterparts. She began her study of materials at Carnegie Mellon University, joining the Morphing Matter Lab’s Morphlour project. Upon graduating, she studied textiles at the RCA, exploring biomaterials, materiality, and craft. She believes in a future where a single garment can morph into different forms, where biomaterials aid our progression into extreme environments, and where dynamic surfaces bridge the gap between the real and the digital.

A portion of this project is in collaboration with Professor Ahu Gumrah Dumanli-Parry, Dr. Luz Carime Gil Herrera, Dr. Elif Ozden Yenigun, and Dr. Sara Robertson. Our work is an institutional collaboration between RCA and University of Manchester to further explore animate material adaptations.

RE-ENCOUNTER // Immaterialize

Re-encounter captures the essence of my project, re envisioning touch to facilitate intimacy. Touch is an intuitive language with strong social, political, and health implications. I designed Immaterialize as a speculative tool for intimacy, translating touch into a visual experience. The visual element of this work is a product of my animate biomaterial, a magnetic sheet material derived from flaxseed gel. By decoding the key motions, key regions, and resulting meanings of various body touches, I created an intuitive touch object for participants to interact with. Stimulating the touch object animates the material as it rests on the visual interface, a smoothly textured surface inspired by curves on the body. Touch is a luxury and a show of trust. This project takes steps towards decoding the language of touch, interrogating definitions of intimacy, and facilitating a range of intimate experiences

Touch Intimacy — Song - 20:17 by Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm
Installation Walk Through
Materials and Textures

How can the language of touch be reinterpreted visually, creating a new platform for intimacy?

The title of my installation is Immaterialize. It is a three paneled piece composed of a touch object, three visual interfaces, and animate biomaterial. The touch object, visual interface, and biomaterial work together to create a direct touch to visual experience. This is a speculative tool for reinterpreting the language of touch visually and facilitating non contact intimacy.

Sketching Key Positions
Identifying Key Motions

The touch object is our point of physical connection. It is an intuitive piece that receives the touch stimulus.

From Collage to CAD — I remained grounded in the human form throughout this project, using creases in the body to develop surface textures. This interface holds the animate biomaterial and houses the magnets required to make the material move.
Future Skin — This skin like biomaterial is derived from flaxseed gel. The coloration is representative of a range of skin shades. Explore the development and movement of this material via the project link.

This future tool visualizes touches on the human form. As such, the structural component of the interface is derived from a collage of curves and dips on the body. This is then layered with magnetically actuated material, creating a moving, organic surface.

Coming Together — Song - Deep Blue by AK. The installation opens 24th July. Follow @rcatextiles and @catmonmakes to experience Immaterialize live.