Organized Entanglement

I propose the term "Organized Entanglement" to encompass fiber and textile art, design, engineering and science.

The adjective "organized" is suggested to parallel the way we sometimes use "Organized Sound” – as an inclusive definition of music. My intention is to be descriptive not proscriptive. No narrowings need be made as to who or how this organization becomes manifest or is conceptualized.

The noun "entanglement" identifies processes that produce a wide variety of forms and afford varieties of entrainments. The forms can be readily categorized using patterns studied in topology, mereotopology and geometry. Entrainments involve dynamic concerns, couplings, and linkages - both material and social.

Entrainment may be thought of as the manifestations of a common fate of elements of an assemblage.

Painting and inking, for example, are ways of entraining pigments to produce color and texture effects on surfaces. These pigments are entrapped in place by a medium which moves between vapor or liquid to solid state.

By contrast, the processes that bind staples of fiber into threads and yarns, yarns into textiles, and textiles into garments involve entanglements that allow for bending, stretching, and shearing - all scarcely afforded in painting.

When thinking about familiar textile process as entanglement, it is helpful to elaborate what is being controlled tightly by the process and what is allowed to run free. For example in spinning staples, the length and orientation of staples is carefully managed but the exact position of each staple and amount of twist are not as carefully controlled.

Some useful descriptive terms for elements of this process are:

  • Syntropic - in the same direction
  • Symplectic - braided together

    In larger scale structures, such as ropes, this term is helpful

  • Syndetic - bound together

    Most large assemblies combine processes.: Knits and weaves, for example, are often knotted at the edges to avoid unraveling. Embroidery is stitching into a base fabric.

    Felted hats are an interesting contrasting structure to consider because the staple orientation is not controlled but the staple entanglement, fabric thickness and shape are.

    Why go to all this trouble of hoisting textile and fiber processes into a new conceptual framework? For me it serves as a bridge to move knowledge in one field of activity efficiently to another one–electromagnetics, for example. When conductive threads are organized into certain shapes within fabrics and electrical current is passed through them entangled electric and magnetic fields are produced that may serve as loudspeakers, microphones, antennas, capacitive proximity sensors, etc. These entanglements are coproduced, coterminal and coextensive with textile and fiber entanglements. Plurifunctional creations of this sort beg to be thought of in a unified framework that seeks to celebrate synergies without prematurely muting any particular function or property.