Ulrike Beck and Martin Jess: How a technical innovation in ancient textile industry pioneered a new way of thinking
Suggested citation: Ulrike Beck and Martin Jess, How a technical innovation in ancient textile industry pioneered a new way of thinking. Interface Critique 3 (2021), pp. 151–169.
This article is released under a
Creative Commons license (CC BY 4.0).
Ulrike Beck is head of the BMBF-funded research project “Innovation research on dress and its complex interconnection to society” at the University of Arts Berlin, where she applies innovative scientific methods on primary materials to reveal new insights into the design and production strategies of clothing and explores the interdependencies between the way we dress and our social, cultural and economic context. She conducts research at the intersection of textile and design research as well as data science. Beck pioneers the field of constructional textile research, which utilizes the compelling logic of the three-dimensional construction of the clothes as an essential dimension to understand strategic problem-solving in the historical and ancient textile industry. Therefore, she developed a new scientific methodology, which combines forensic techniques with those of reverse engineering to extract relevant primary data from the material culture in order to scientifically reconstruct the functional and aesthetic behaviour of the textile finds in motion as well as their fabrication strategies. Beck understands clothing production as a complex task, which is solved by converting creative ideas into a mathematical concept and applying it to a specific problem. Therefore, her research focusses on pattern recognition and translating the consistent logical language of the dress into comparable data models. Beck received her PhD in design research at the University of Arts Berlin, where she developed her research methodology. Prior she earned a master’s degree in design from the Burg Giebichenstein, University of Art and Design Halle. With her research, Beck collaborates internationally with various Universities, collections, and colleagues from different research fields. Her research results are presented in international journals as well as scientific reconstructed models, installations, graphics and photographs.
Martin Jess lives and loves data digitalization. Due to his background in software engineering and data management in combination with art history, he takes a great interest in the intersection between design research and information technology. His passion is to understand innovation strategies and to support and facilitate knowledge discovery by using standardized workflows. Jess earned a Master of Science from the Martin Luther Universität in Halle. In his ten years of work experience in digitalization as software engineer and data management expert, he contributed to various economic fields. Recently he was part of the team for the Swiss COVID-19 Research Project Registry. In his current research he focusses on designing and implementing data management platforms for artefacts in the field of archaeology and art history.