The movement crafter consists of a pair of knitting needles enhanced with motion sensors, and a
dedicated screen embedded into a sewing box. The needles map the activity of the craftsperson and
transmit the data to the box via radio frequency. This data is saved on a database and is
then translated into a thread visualization. The visualisation presents a complementary output for
the knitting activity. Each stitch extends the path of the
thread in a continuously growing mesh. The aim is not
to increase awareness in order to stimulate people to
craft more, or to improve their performance. Instead, it
aims to reward the time spent doing it. Differently from
a number of slow technology projects, it does not
aim to support reflection as both awareness and
reflection would disrupt the slow aspect of knitting.
The thread visualization resulting from the activity of
one crafter can be merged with the visualization of
other remote ones. The combination of threads
provides a different sort of communication, one that is
quiet and open ended, and which contrasts with current
always-on media. The screen is meant to remain in the
background, being accessed only once in a while, to
provide a moment of wonderment, a feeling of
accomplishment, and the comfort that other people are
performing the same slow task.
Key slow technology concepts
- Quiet communication
- Mixing slow activity (knitting) and fast material (data gathering).
- Supporting experience of being "in the flow".
Contrary to the main trend of slow technology principles, which focuses on "reflectivity", this aspect requires some level of irreflectivity.
Speeding up artifacts
Almost three decades ago, Mcluhan  asserted that
man-made artifacts inevitably enhance or accelerate a
certain process or thing while obsolesce others. Hand
operated machines enhanced manual knitting, which
was further enhanced by large-scale factory machinery.
As artifacts lose their productive relevance, however,
they often gain new roles. Some become simple
mementos , while others continue to be used as a
way to re-experience the process they enabled in a
different, slower, tempo . The act of writing letters is
one example of this search for a slower pace. Although
most personal communication can nowadays be carried
out via e-mail, traditional letters are still exchanged as
a way to express commitment and care . As we
continue to adopt ever-new technologies, together with
an overall speeding up of our lives, we also start to feel
the need to slow down, and with this, the need to
recover forgotten practices .
The movement crafter aims to support traditional
turned-slow activities without replacing them or
speeding them up. It attempts to avoid drawing
attention to the need of crafting and to respect the
status of this activity as an occasional hobby, to which
individuals would turn when they feel an urge to slow
down. The project is part of a movement towards
questioning the traditional technological focus on
productivity , especially as technology spreads from
workspaces to homes and contexts where being
productive is not necessarily desired .
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