HOPE is a public installation that recreates the Anatolian tradition of Wish Trees as a light installation, by embroidering the wish fabrics with e-textiles and light circuitry.
Drawing inspiration from the gesture of attaching fabrics to wish trees and using textile electronics and light, wish fabrics are recreated to shine upon being tied to an object.
The original ritual consists of tying a small piece of fabric around the branch of the tree that is considered sacred; and while doing so, a serious and deep wish is made by the person. Wish Trees are found often in Turkey, like in many other countries. Local people consider some trees sacred, and make wishes through their branches, by tying small pieces of fabric. These result in some trees around Anatolia becoming dressed up in white fabric, turning into a symbol of hope of its believers.
This form and gesture forms the bases: A strip of fabric is designed with conductive fabrics, textile circuitry and LED lights; while tying this fabric to a tree (or doors, arms, hair, bridges) acts as a switch gesture and turns on the light.
The ritual is performed through workshops where participants are introduced to the concept, and shown how to build their own wish fabrics. Knowledge transfer, both conceptually and technically, is essential to the recreation of the ritual. In the end, the participants are invited to make their wishes, either on a preselected tree, or wherever they feel safe and in peace.
How it Works
The item itself is a strip of fabric embedded with textile electronics and light, designed to shine when tied around an object.
In Hope installation, this piece of fabric is redesigned to include a low power LED, a 3V coin battery and conductive fabrics that act as a switch. Therefore, when the person ties the fabric around the branch of a tree, the light on the strip starts to shine. The next version will include a sewable solar charging mechanism.
Through workshops and making all the design of such a wish fabric open-source, Hope wish fabrics are generated by many.
The current working prototype consists of one CR2025 battery, a battery holder and a low-power LED. These are all embroidered on a nonconductive fabric, with conductive fabric making the connections. On each side, there are two sheets of conductive fabric that constitute the switch of the circuit. When tied together, the LED turns on. This is the proof of the gesture of tying a piece of cloth around a branch, which is made visible with light.
The next generation of the prototype will implement miniature solar cells, light sensors, and low energy microprocessors for light behaviors. This way, the tied fabrics will collect the energy from the sun during the day, and turn on in the evening to become visible. This version makes the concept much stronger, as the sun keeping the hopes alive is an interesting association, as well as being a much more sustainable public installation. Also, adding light behaviors will open up the way for more interesting results, like flickering or breathing forms of light on the trees.
First Prototypes and Workshop Results
The initial version for Hope wish fabric is battery powered. It consists of a simple switch circuit, where tying the fabric connects the conductive textiles on each side, turning on the LED.
A small workshop was conducted with friends to prepare different versions. Below are the results.