Being In Between

Being In BetweenAlicia VelazquezComment

I love being in between. Taking planes and trains, and road trips. Being part of that changing landscape brings me into a meditative state, into a place of high potential to be, to become and to transform. It's an experience filled with expectancy and desire, with fear and excitement.

Because you are passing by you are both an inhabitant and a viewer. You cannot be a tourist of the in between, as you are also living there, even if for a short time.

At this moment I have the opportunity to bring the "being in between" into a professional reality. As I recently became an Adapt-r fellow (Marie Curie ITN funding) I will be for a one-year period working in Zurich, in Brussels and in the in between. 

As a first reaction to this weekly motion, I started a series of material actions. To take a better look at these three places, and see myself in them. 

We forget about our time in between because we do forgettable things. We try to pass our time as quickly as possible. We read, write and look out of the window. We play cards or games. Sometimes we have great encounters and conversations, we read a book we have been wanting to for long time, or we get a very much needed sleep and silence moment to ourselves. We tend to fill our time there, rather than to "feel" our time. 

I love being in between. We take it as being in transit, expecting the upcoming or longing for what we left behind. But in between is also a destination. It's also a place. When we accept that, we will also "live" there.   

How do you experience being in between?


Textures Purpose, Being In BetweenAlicia VelazquezComment

On the train from Brussels Nord towards Leuven, I look at all of us seating on the brown-leathered yellow-tabled car. We are all part of this material landscape. We - humans - move, we are alive, we emit sounds. Yet we are also mass, skin and form, and next to the other material forms we make this landscape of the now. Them and us, a temporary, dynamic landscape. A lifescape

Perhaps the mistake is to look at us and space as separate entities - us and materials, us and the train car. Perhaps it is now the moment when we should look at all of us as one thing.

Because part of this landscape remains - the material environment. But this landscape I am living in right now, this lifescape, exactly composed of the same mass, form and material as it is now only belongs to this very moment. There will not be another one like this, never. Never again there will be rain outside of this train wetting the windows. Never again this light. Nor are we train companions going to be in the same wagon, sitting in the same places at the same moment, wearing these clothes, having these conversations and getting these phone calls. The woman falling asleep in front of me, the business man looking at his mobile screen, the young guy in front of him with sleepy face looking now out the window, now at his phone. Never ever.

We are wrong. We have been wrong all along. We build and inhabit these material worlds believing that they never change, that we simply take our life in and out of them. But we overlook that our world is the combination of us and them. Us "and" the material world form a unique landscape every time. 

We are part of a dynamic lifescape. It is up to us to grasp it or not, to "be" inside it. We are not just watching it. Or experiencing it. We are part of it, indivisible part of it. It exists because of us. We give it meaning and life. 

Have you experienced yourself as indivisible part of your lifescape? Where, how?

I'd love to hear your experience in the comments below, or if you rather, send me a message.

Embracing In Between

Textures Purpose, Being In Between, VideoAlicia VelazquezComment

Last week we had a workshop and exhibition in Aarhus (Denmark) during Adapt-r event Making Research Research Making. Adapt-r (Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training-research) is a European program and network to promote creative practices research.

Together with designer Verena Ziegler, and after working together for one year we presented there and for the first time our project Inhabiting In Between.

Inhabiting In Between started as a shared space. Coming both of us from an architecture background, we both had the urge to explore the humanness in materiality, bringing it closer to the body. What are the emotional connections that we share with and through materials? And how can we, as designers, as makers, as practitioners, explore these connections?

This shared space of being in between, started as a series of material acts. Performing these acts with the materials, letting them speak to us, we seek to unveil new emotional relationships.

From static materializations of in between space, we moved into dynamic techniques, and started working with inflatables.

How do we inhabit a space that is changing, that is changeable? When inhabiting a dynamic space we are not in control. We are simply there, having the experience. We can activate it, we can decide how to handle the texture or wrap it around ourselves. But it keeps a degree of unpredictability, which makes the act a shared space. We are therefore not designing the texture completely, but providing the space for the material, and our body, to have a shared experience. Of inhabiting together.

Will inflatable spaces give us a sense of belonging? Can materials help us to connect emotionally?

As we don't have answers but only questions, I leave you with a narrative video sharing some of our latest works and thoughts on inhabiting the in between.

And with a question to embrace:

  • what could it do for you? 

Looking forward to your comments here below.

Don't Try This With Your Kids

Textures PurposeAlicia VelazquezComment
Texture study for collaborative fashion project Inhabiting Wearable Space, with MaryMeJimmiPaul's blue hair.

I am having a not-so-innocent relationship. With the material world. I not only poke, caress or hug walls (wall-hugger?). I lick, insert fingers, touch with my naked body.

You've done this too. When you slip in your clothes. Or lay in the bathtub. Swim. Peal a fruit. 

Having sex with objects? 

Why not?

Arousing "sexorial" connections with the textures that surround you may surprise you. It is not the fifty shades you imagine, but it's a fantastic training of your touch buds, it grows your tactile wisdom, it's a great skin workout, plus your full body will be happy you remember it exists. 

For the moment when you decide to share intimacy and skin with another body, even if it is an inanimate one, sensations arise. You grow your receptiveness listening to the voice of your skin, opening her eyes.

Texture sex may include spilling liquids, getting sticky, dirty, powdered, cold, hot, sweaty. Comfortable? Possibly not. Fun. Dirty. Familiar?

Don't wait till a new product or marketing message gives you permission to feel. 

The texture doctor advices: have texture sex. Daily. 

Start now: look around, pick one thing and one body part who have never been in touch. Introduce them. Let them have sex. Enjoy.

And! share me your insights and experience in the comments below.

Time Bomb

Textures Purpose, Video, ProductAlicia VelazquezComment

We now nothing is there forever. We change, objetcs change, the landscape changes. Our mood changes. Our body changes.

Made out of a material that disintegrates with time, Time-Bomb Dear bracelet is a temporary piece of jewelry. 

Wether you choose it for a loved one or for yourself, TBD changes as your love changes, as you change. TBD knows that your love fades along time. She understands. She has been designed for that. It is also her nature to change, and accompany you as you change.

TBD does the job for you. No need to think you need to keep it for good. No need to confront the guilt of getting rid of it. No need to apply the KonMari method. TBD dies.

TBD comes in a beautiful package, expiration date included. You may choose the desired length of your affection. We offer 3 types, with 3 different price ranges:

  • fast & furious
  • mild & mighty, and
  • long & luminous.

How dear is your love? Or how dare?

Drop me some love (or hate, or both), on the comment lines below. 

What The Wear

Textures Purpose, VideoAlicia Velazquez1 Comment

Is what we wear showing or hiding our real selves?

I asked myself this question a few days ago, after I bought something new to wear. I was suddenly feeling confident and fresh. It kind of brought my ego out.

This reaction made me think: what does what we wear arise? what does it hide?

Jose Miguel Iribas, great sociologist I really appreciated personally as well, and whom unfortunately recently passed away, used to say: there are three main tools to socialize: sports, alcohol and the naked body. 

Some people imagine the audience naked to loose their fear on stage. Perhaps they become "real" in their eyes, free from their power, position or career skins.

I love cool clothes (always the ones I can't afford :-). But I've been (unconsciously) neglecting owning new stuff in the past years, perhaps and coincidentally at the same time that I had a major shift in my career. Since my work has increasingly become more personal, I had the need to be more naked. Not only emotionally, also literally. 

Possibly because when no clothes are present, there is only body to wear, only the real deal. And the ego-wear falls flat.

What the wear? Here's my humble hum to invite you out:

Now, throw me back some wearing love:

  • which "you" reflects on what you wear?

Can't wait to hear your stories, blurbs and cuts in the comments below.

And on wearing, I just released a very limited collection of thread wraps

Purpose Me

They are summery, colorful, textile, flexible, warm and unique.

And now for sale!

Click on the image to see them:

Purpose Me are very personal pieces. Each one hand-made, body-made, and with her unique process story

From 19.06.2015, six wraps will be shown as well in Buen Gusto shop/gallery, Zurich Altstadt. 

[I also take custom orders]


Behind the Thins

Video, Textures PurposeAlicia Velazquez2 Comments
[plug your headphones to get the "full monty"]

It's so interesting to work with materials like a Montessori teacher works with kids. Letting them express and develop their own personality. 

Come on, I can hear. Materials do not have a personality. 

They do not feel. but their nature very well expresses their "wish" to be or become something.

The materiality of thin string and the construction I made with it gave me some clues about life.

It's about networking. A hot issue in our lives!

But when I started this exercise, I wasn't planning to make a networking map. 

My starting point was: I am going to connect with a wall. I am going to use threads and sticky dots to connect myself with this wall, using as many lines as needed to feel that we are attached. It will be like growing roots, like planting myself to the wall.

Then, while doing it, the wall started to disappear. The "real" thing was happening in the threads, those individual almost-nothing things.

Instead of representing my attachment to the wall, they started to represent relationships to me. In a broader sense. 

What is it that this tactile experience unstrung?


I'd love to hear your line of thoughts on this:

  • which of these lessons strapped stronger to you?
  • how would your bundle look like?

Do come over to the comments below and let me know (or if you prefer, please email me back). Your words really make a difference.


My 10 "softmandments"

Textures PurposeAlicia VelazquezComment

Softness is an attitude I see as necessary in our current environment. Softness as new strentgh: standing strong and with flexibility, empathy and connection.

How can softness become a design attitude?

While I search for it, find it in many designer's work and try to pursue it in my own, it seemed necessary to solidify a softness statement. Here is my first attempt:

10 Softmandments.jpg

* "product" to be replaced with space, interior, object, texture, building, neighborhood...