Micro machinery, textile antennas: oh my!
Initiated last term by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and underwritten by the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs, FOYER is a grant that aims to support cross-faculty research collaborations.
FOYER is also a physical space — a lounge furnished with couches, rugs and lamps in the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex — where the students will set up shop this term.
For their project, Micro-Macro-Maniacal-Mechanical, Tim Belliveau and Christine Swintak, MFA in Studio Arts candidates, and Bathini Srinivas, a PhD student in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering PhD, will investigate the visual and sensorial logic of micro-machinery fabrication and the tools of its creation — molding, casting, plating and etching, both separately and in combination with highly specialized processes.
“Working together as a cross-disciplinary collective will allow us to access tools and thinking processes outside our own departments and offer us the possibility of learning about and understanding our own sector in new ways,” the group’s members wrote in their application.
For Up Patching!, Geneviève Moisan from the Fibres and Material Practices concentration of the MFA in Studio Arts will work with Muhammad Mustafa Tahseen a PhD candidate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program. Using the Tajima fibre-laying machine, they will explore the creation of textile antenna prototypes using conductive thread.
“Research into materials and techniques will lead us to explore the implications of using textile techniques for the purpose of communication,” Moisan and Tahseen wrote in their project proposal.
New ideas, new possibilities
Rebecca Duclos, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, chaired the FOYER jury that chose the winning projects.
It consisted of faculty members Christine DeWolf, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mitch Mitchell, assistant professor in Print Media in the Department of Studio Arts, and Andrew Woodall, dean of Students, as well as FOYER coordinators Sarah Manya and Marina Polosa.
“The important thing to remember about this fellowship is that, unlike many granting programs, there are no expected outcomes,” Duclos says. “Combined research teams will use FOYER to explore ideas and cross methodologies. Let the possibilities reign in terms of what can be envisioned when coming together!”
In April, the teams will present their ideas, experiments and discoveries to a public audience at the FOYER symposium.
About the FOYER student team members
Tim Belliveau (MFA in Studio Arts, Fibres and Material Practices) is a co-founder of Bee Kingdom Glass, a collaborative studio collective based in Calgary. He has worked as a glassblower for ten years. He works as a rapid prototyping technician at Concordia.
Bathini Srinivas (PhD, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering) completed his Master of Technology at the National Institute of Technology in Karnataka, India. His main area of research is micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) for biomedical applications such as cancer detection using microfluidic techniques.
Christine Swintak (MFA in Studio Arts, Intermedia) creates large-scale site-generated projects in a range of mediums with a focus on creating experiential situations that are both humorous and critical. She worked as an administrator in the media arts and is co-founder of Don Blanche, an experimental off-grid residency in rural Ontario.
Geneviève Moisan (MFA in Studio Arts, Fibres and Material Practices) is a Jacquard weaver and textile artist. Her research interests are based on the historical study of various textiles and ancient techniques. She is a research assistant to Kelly Thompson and a member of Studio subTela, where she is involved in making intelligent wearable fabrics.
Muhammad Mustafa Tahseen (PhD, Electrical and Computer Engineering) completed undergraduate studies at COMSATS in Lahore, Pakistan, and earned a master’s degree at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden. His research interests include designing wearable antennas, conformal antennas, high-gain reflectarray antennas and beam-scanning antennas.