SONIC FABRIC Needs Your Help

Sonic Fabric


I met Alyce Santoro in 2006, in Brooklyn, not too long before she moved to Marfa, Texas. Filled with curios and the materials of her multimedia artwork, her basement studio made an impression on me as a place of cramped enchantment. I was there to learn about Santoro’s SONIC FABRIC, an equal parts blend polyester and audiocassette tape textile. Tell-tales affixed to sails to gauge the wind and Tibetan prayer flags inspired Santoro to make mixes of her favorite music and then repurpose the audio tape. As she describes it on her website, SONIC FABRIC is “a beautiful, tightly-woven, functional material . . . [I]n 2003 I constructed my first sonic shaman-superhero dress from the panels of fabric, which I came to realize, were actually audible…the fabric retains it’s magnetic properties throughout the weaving process, and when a tape head is dragged along its surface, it emits a garbled, underwater-like sound.”

The alternative material has received plenty of attention over the years, from media outlets to the SONIC FABRIC muumuu commissioned and oft donned by Phish drummer Jon Fishman. Santoro’s Voidness Dress will be included in The Power of Making exhibit that launches in September at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Santoro is in the process of raising funds with the support of United States Artists. Her hope is that in the next week she will raise enough money to make customized SONIC FABRIC. From the project’s page: “From the beginning the goal has been to share this project with others, to collaborate with fellow musicians and artists, architects, designers, collectors – anyone interested in having sounds, music, wishes, ideas recorded onto tape and woven into versatile, durable, audible fabric that can be used in any imaginable way . . . In exchange for your tax-deductable contribution of $2,000 you will receive 20 yards of SONIC FABRIC recorded with the sounds of your choice.”


Monster fresh

via Monsterfresh

Bands, music lovers and forward-thinking fashionistas could have a lot of fun with this stuff just by wearing a remixed mix tape, like Jon Fishman. And if you pledge now, there are matching funds available, so if your curiosity is piqued, have a gander!

3 thoughts on “SONIC FABRIC Needs Your Help

  1. Pingback: The Future In Fashion Developments « Hot Topics & Cool Trends

  2. Pingback: Furniture Design Blog | Maxine Snider | A portal to the design world » SONIC FABRIC: ALYCE SANTORO

  3. Calvin

    By “garbled, underwater-like sound”, I thought they meant a garbled, underwater-like version of the originally recorded sound, but all the YouTube videos suggest it’s just a generic garbled sound that retains no discernable characteristics of the original recording. Which is too bad, as if it’d been the former, that would have been really cool. But given that all Sonic Fabric products sound the same, recording specific audio tracks to it seems pretty pointless.
    A real cool project would be to make a device that can write to an already-woven magnetic fabric. Then you could actually make clothing that plays real music. The 2D shape of the recording media would also add a new dimension to musical composition since it could be played back in multiple directions and infinitely varied paths along the fabric surface rather than just forwards or backwards the way magnetic tape and nearly all recording media are designed to be played.