Mette Sterre presents The Octopus Suit in collaboration with the students of the minor Advanced Prototyping.
For her residency at Crossing Parallels, Mette Sterre works with the students of the Minor Advanced Prototyping to design a new performative bodymask. The bodysuit draws inspiration from the master shapeshifter of the animal world: the octopus. By merging soft robotic and fluid dynamics, the Octopus Suit enables its wearer to mimic the creature's abilities to change its shape, texture and colour.
The Octopus Suit is a collective technical feat. Weighing thirty kilos, it consists of several layers of hand-poured silicone, allowing hundreds of air pockets to inflate and deflate while coloured liquids pump through different sections of the suit.
Texture, shape and colour changes were individually tested out on a first small-scale arm prototype. This allowed the team to establish practical knowledge of working with the silicone and play with different techniques. Curing time turned out to be particularly important in the development process, since silicone is an expensive material, leaving little room for errors. The second part of the residency focused on scaling up the prototype into a full bodysuit that allowed the wearer to explore its performative qualities further.
The Octopus Suit is a new step in Mette Sterre's ongoing series of performative 'bodymasks' that seek to expand the boundaries of human perception and challenge our anthropocentric position.
The collaboration between Mette Sterre and Crossing Parallels was initiated by an invitation from the gallery 38CC in Deft. The results of the residency were presented at 38CC as part of the exhibition 'An Octopus Named If' and at the Dutch Design Week 2023 as part of the exhibition 'Manifestations'.
Mette Sterre is currently working on performative installations with several body masks. She creates uncanny environments that make it possible to investigate, both intuitively and rationally, our perception of what we consider to be living matter. The wearer of these bodymasks has to submit themselves to the work, creating a new bodylanguage for the non-human body, relating to carnivalesque and fokloric traditions, creating a live other worldly experience. Her polymorphic practice delves into neuroscience, materiality and speculative fictions through robotics, trans-humanism, xeno/glitch feminism and eroticims.
Mette Sterre has a bachelor of Fine Arts from Willem de Kooning Academy, and a MA in Performance Design & Practice from Central Saint Martins. She was a resident at the prestigious Rijskacademie of Visual Arts in Amsterdam in 2021 and is a visiting practicionner at Central Saint Martins London and a teacher of Textile Design at Chelsea College of Arts. She has shown her work internationally including at the Prague Theatre Design Quadrinale, the Watermill Center and Cue Art Foundation in New York, Glasgow International, the Trienale Design Museum in Milan, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Migros Museum, London Design Week, Gallery Esmeralda in Curacao and the Museum of Everything in the Kunsthal. She was also featured in Vogue Italy, the Wall street Journal, the New York Times, Artefact Magazine and Volkskrant, NRC, Telegraaf, Parool, Artforum and Xibit Magazine, Metropolis M and others.