Congratulations to Sasha de Koninck, our 2015 Summer Stipend Recipient

Sasha’s Garments for Uncomfortable Social Situations shows how wearable technology is not just an expensive gizmo on your wrist, it can also be a second skin that broadcasts your deepest insecurities.

Sasha has literally interlaced technology and fashion, creating a pressure-sensitive material with conductive yarn. When touched, it completes a circuit that can produce a sound, which means that if you fidget when you’re nervous, you can’t hide in your hoodie.

Sasha wrote, in her Summer Stipend application:

“Smart textiles have introduced me to responsive materials that express a change of state and talk back. Smart textiles allow me to use touch as a way to activate the artwork. It invites you to participate, touch and react to its response.

“The Garments for Uncomfortable Social Situations will be the first project in a series expanding upon the idea of what it means to be uncomfortable and the role our clothing plays in that situation. In my previous work I have turned the body into an instrument where I invited interaction and participation. Now I want to explore the other side of that — unwanted interaction.

“The garment is the cello and uncomfortableness is the bow.”

Our panelists picked Sasha’s project as a clear favorite. Here are some of the nice things they said:

“I loved this to death. Practical, useful, highly inventive and entertaining.”

“Made me laugh at first glance and I like the idea even more after delving in. I am a crochet person myself so I really appreciate the fabrication of this. I want that hoodie SO badly.”

“A highly original project, yet utterly relatable. I love the contradiction. I love the humor. I love the way the clothes look (I’d want to wear them even if I wasn’t experiencing an uncomfortable social situation). Definitely my number one.”

“I’m intrigued by the expressiveness in enabling clothing to have additional senses and dimensions.”

And here are some other demonstrations from Sasha:


Sasha will use the $1000 Stipend from Macktez for production of her materials at the TextielLab in Tilburg, the Netherlands. She will be presenting her work this fall at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Macktez Summer Stipend is a development grant to encourage one of the many imaginative people we meet and work with every day to finish their summer project. We evaluate applications on three simple criteria: originality, relevance, and conviction.

Stipend Archive

  • 2015 — Congratulations to Sasha de Koninck, our 2015 Summer Stipend Recipient
    Check out Garments for Uncomfortable Social Situations. Wearable technology is not just an expensive gizmo on your wrist, it can also be a second skin that broadcasts your deepest insecurities.
  • 2014 — Congratulations to Paula Segal, our 2014 Summer Stipend Recipient
    With Urban Reviewer Signage for Urban Renewal Areas in New York City Paula and her colleagues will produce and implement signs to mark active renewal areas, to help build awareness of urban renewal plans.
  • 2013 — Congratulations to Andrew Ellis, Summer Stipend Recipient
    Andrew is wrapping up production of Oakland: New Urban Eating. After adding some final touches, he is hoping to finish the whole project before the end of June and will most likely make it available as an ebook through Blurb.
  • 2012 — Congratulations to Sarah Nelson Wright
    Sarah and her colleagues partnered with a robotics lab at NYU to host an event (similar to the Newton Creek Armada project) on the Gowanus Canal for City of Water Day in July. This time, in addition to video, the boats sent live water quality data back to shore. In April, they curated a group show of projects about the Newtown Creek and Gowanus Canal at Proteus Gowanus in Brooklyn. In May, we presented the Newtown Creek Armada at the Open Engagement conference at the Queens Museum.
  • 2011 — Congratulations to Mary Jeys
    Mary's Brooklyn Torch Project has been thriving since she received the Stipend in 2011. In August she will present the project at a conference on artists and communal exchange in Rotterdam with a group called Oblique International. She's also writing a book about her journey. Most recently, she convened a panel on the DIY economy at the Left Forum in NYC.
  • 2010 — Congratulations to Jack Shaw
    Jack received the 2010 stipend for his vision to create a waste-free product made out of its own packing material. The result will be The Light Box, a floor lamp or wall sconce incorporating its own packaging into the design and construction.
  • 2009 — Congratulations to Zoe Fraade-Blanar
    Zoe Fraade-Blanar received the 2009 stipend to map the difference between the news people are searching for and what journalists are publishing. Beautiful visual representations can show editors which hot topics are underrepresented by news sources, giving them the opportunity to generate readership by tapping unmet demand. The result was Current: A News Project her thesis project at NYU's Tisch ITP. Current is now being used at a large (unnamed) newspaper to help editors determine what stories to move to the front page of their website.
  • 2008 — Congratulations to Nicole Kenney for Before I Die I Want To
    Nicole and partner KS continue to grow the Polaroid project. Since the summer that they won the stipend, they have taken the project to India as well as hospice. Nicole is finishing a 1-year program in Documentary Photography at the International Center of Photography. She had an exhibition opening at ICP June 24, 2011 called "living in love, living in loss," an autobiographical exploration of the impermanence of marriage. Check out her website to see what she's up to now.
  • 2007 — Congratulations to Andrew Sloat for A More Perfect Union
    Andrew Sloat has been keeping himself busy, directing TV commercials and holding down a graphic design practice, as well as teaching at RISD. Last October he had a piece in Times Square.
  • 2006 — Christopher Allen and UnionDocs
    Christopher Allen and UnionDocs are busy with a new Summer Documentary Intensive program and their “Living Los Sures” project which premieres at a festival this fall. Two shorts from the larger collaborative project just won Best Short Documentary and Best Brooklyn Film at the Brooklyn Film Festival!
  • 2005 — Daniel Marr, Chinatown
    First of all, Daniel's changed his surname back to the one he was born with: Maher. When we last spoke to him, Daniel was writing songs for his seventh album.