Last week I went to a feedback session for the fashion students doing the Contaminated Life seminar. One of the students was doing work extracting the ‘functional’ aspects of garments into a modular system of prosthetics. I have been thinking about this in relation to what I would like to do with the urine recycling system. How could we approach the functionality of garments not in relation to how they are held together or how they are attached to the body but in terms of how they operate as part of a feedback system, an augmentation organ at the body’s surface. With respect to the recycling of urine, I am interested in how filtration systems could be re-thought not as clunky input/output boxes but as seamless relationships within the texture of our built and fashioned environments.
One of the things I have been exploring in this regard is the charcoal filter. Charcoal filters work to filter out chemicals in water because of the multiple bonding points offered up by the carbon molecule. As the water passes through the filter these undesired chemicals bond to the carbon and are left behind. The carbon filters found in filter jugs and bottles usually come in the form of plastic encased replaceable modules. But you wanted to wear such a filter how might you integrate it into the fabric of a garment? For example, the charcoal doesn’t have to be presented in a block, rather it could be spread over the contours of a moving body in powder form.