Felecia Davis

    Ian Danner, Matthew Dembiczak, Daniel Escobar, Aysan Jafarzadeh, Hiranshi Patel, Lee Washesky, Huijuan Xu, Shu Zhao
    Lesley Lokko
    The Laboratory of the Future, 18th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, Venice
    May 20, 2023 to Nov 26, 2023
    Felecia Davis

Felecia Davis, "Hair texture database wall graphic," 2023. Courtesy SOFTLAB@PSU

Forming a space between two words, dreadlock is a word of uncertain etymology but for those who are English speaking it is clear this word is two words making one. Dread, fear, anxiety about the future but also awe or reverence. And the word loc, Germanic in origin, refers to a curled or strand of a person’s hair that curls together, or the property of matted hair, tangled beyond untangling, knotted forever. The word loc is related to a piece or tuft of wool, the shortest cheapest wool from a sheep’s legs. The authors of the project experiment with locking technique related to felting in textile practice and digital combing or sorting to make a threshold.

Felecia Davis is an associate professor at the Stuckeman Center for Design and Computation at Pennsylvania State University and is the director of SOFTLAB. Her work in communicating with computational textiles through architecture has been recognized for connecting art with science and was featured by PBS in the Women in Science Profiles series. Davis is working on a book that examines the role of computational materials in our lives titled Softbuilt: Networked Architectural Textiles. Davis was a contributor to The Museum of Modern Art's group architecture exhibition Reconstructions: Blackness and Architecture in America. She is principal of FELECIADAVISTUDIO which has received several finalist awards for her architectural designs in open and invited architectural design competitions. Her work has been recognized by the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture [ACADIA]Innovative Research Award of Excellence, 2022, the New York Architectural League Emerging Voices 2022, a DIGITALFUTURES Project Award 2022 and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Digital Design 2021.

The Computational Textiles Lab, or SOFTLAB@PSU, in the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing is a research group in which faculty and students examine how lightweight and soft computational materials and computational textiles are made and/or manufactured, how the material itself is used and the ways in which it may be applied in architecture, furnishings and clothing. In this area of research, a variety of scales are examined as today even nano-scaled elements or computational clothing can have profound effect in environments. In addition to producing/testing/creating artifacts made with soft computational materials and textiles in this research area faculty and students develop theories and methods about how designers might re-consider ideas of materiality in general. SOFTLAB is also a space in which researchers can use machines and equipment for fabricating and developing soft and lightweight materials in conjunction with other laboratories in the Stuckeman School. There is a small electronics studio available, a programmable sewing machine, programmable knitting machine as well as hand operated tools for fabricating textiles.