A Charlottesville-based sculptor and costume designer, Annie Temmink recently showcased her work in the traveling World of Wearable Art exhibition. From stints building houses, working in woodshops, fabric dye studios, and alongside celebrity designers in Los Angeles, Annie now works independently. Drawing on a range of fabrication techniques she invents outlandish costumes from everyday objects that celebrate individuality, improvisation, and whimsy. Find her on Instagram @artemmink
Her passion for simple and sustainable materials, high tech fabrication processes, and kinetic movement has inspired a desire to expand the creative potential for expression in the performing arts by collaborating with creative technologists. Read on to learn more...
For our readers unfamiliar with your work, please describe your passion for sustainable materials, and your journey to becoming a costume designer.
I make flamboyant headpieces. I still can’t believe this is a job!
In college, I studied sculpture and math so I’ve been interested in systems, geometry and spatial presence for sometime. How did the hats come along, exactly? I was inspired by my time on a Watson Fellowship, which allowed me to work under master craftsmen in Indonesia, India, Uganda, and Japan to learn both ancient and modern ways of creating textiles.
Resourcefulness was a key theme among the craftsmen I got to work with. They each had a tremendous knowledge of the natural world, and how to make beauty from abundant and seemingly unremarkable resources in their landscape.
As I began to experiment with materials in my own work, I was drawn to this practice- what is abundant in our urban landscapes and how can that inform how I clothe the body?
Your costumes are abstract and vivacious, how do you think adding computing components (ie. motors, lights, sensors, etc) could elevate them?
Movement is a key component in how I relate to everything. I have an otherworldly love of storytelling through poetic movement. A slight variation in gait might add an air of mystery to someone crossing your path. I would delight to explore using kinetic sculpture or programmed Arduino components to build costumes that can generate their own movements.
I imagine a dancer putting on a costume and it adding new movements and thus new personality to her repertoire. The intersection of comical human and robot movement could produce work with greater emotional potential.
You recently exhibited one of your costumes at the World of Wearable Art, what new applications of technology on costumes inspired you the most?
The garments that defy the body or present it as a new shape while remaining mobile always amaze me.
I am excited to use technology to cut shapes precisely enough to play with interlocking parts and low tolerances that are difficult to achieve by hand.
Your work inspires a spectacle and encourages people to be "as boundless and wild as they can imagine." How do you think emerging technologies in textiles and computing apparel can create new realms for personal expression and creative freedom?
If you are just starting out it takes much longer to make something you love because you don’t have the skills yet. Certain technologies let you run through ideas more quickly, so you don’t get bogged down in the fabrication process and can focus on the final goal. Technology can make the fabrication process more forgiving and the basic tool easier to access.
Who is your dream technologist collaborator and why?
I think it would be amazing to work with many different kinds of technical masters. To alter the limits of physical movements, a pro-animator/special effects person would be fun to experiment with, someone like Bart Hess.
For the wide range of materials she explores, someone like Iris Van Herpin would be a phenomenal mentor.
To have ALL OF THE TOOLS and a tremendous team of people that specialize in these tools, a residency at Pier Nine with Autodesk would be a larger scale platform for experimentation.
But also working with a plant scientist, a programmer, and a dancer would be a dream: can we imbed seeds in a substrate that can be laser cut or sewn into a danceable garment?
What question do you wish I had asked you?
I wish you had asked where I make hats and why I think it’s important ?
The underlying reason is a search for connection. I live in a small very homogenous town in Charlottesville, Virginia and I just can’t believe that everyone WANTS to look and act the same way that everyone else does, they are just abiding by an unspoken code that they SHOULD. By offering a completely wild and impractical alternative, I hope to make space for a little more acceptance of individuality. Also by holding workshops and building things in groups, I feel a deep satisfaction in communal making and in offering a space for boundless creative wanderings- something so rarely available these days.
Paint me two pictures:
- Your ideal vision for humans' relationship with technology.
I want technology to help us be less wasteful, and more cognizant of our materials. I would also love to see humanity return to a time of individuality rather than mass homogeneity. If technology could help us to build our true-selves and find more confidence in showing them, that would be a dream-come-true outcome!
2. Your fears about the future mechanically and digitally integrated human existence.
I would be most afraid that technology would lead us away from plants, movement, and connection with other people. If technology becomes more than an aid, and keeps us from actually building or doing with our own hands, or turns everything into plastic shiny, texture-less things that would be a real shame.