"E-Static Shadows" Zane Berzina and Jackson Tan in collaboration with an international research team

Zane Berzina and Jackson Tan
in collaboration with an international research team

Installation, 2009

The immersive 'E-Static Shadows' installation which is an outcome of a practice-led experimental research project, creatively explores the speculative and poetic potential of static electricity found in our everyday environments and surrounding our everyday interactions.

The electronic textile acts as a static mirror – responding to the usually invisible charges generated by people interacting with materials and makes these interactions visible. Equipped with tiny LED lights, miniature transistors and woven electronic circuits seamlessly integrated into the large scale luminous electronic cloth structure, the fully analogue installation is able to create transient shadows on the textile display in areas which detect a presence of electrostatic fields, responding to the charges created by viewers and objects. Simultaneously it acts as a simple sonic instrument in response to the presence and intensity of the charges, human proximity and touch.

The underlining intention of the project was to investigate how the easily accessible but little utilised phenomena of electrostatic can add to our sensory experiences and advance the design knowledge of interactive environments. Ideally, these translations embedded in the soft medium of cloth shall provoke a higher awareness of the potential of electrostatic fields surrounding our habitat and initiate playful interactions between the viewer(s) and the space.


Originally from Latvia, as a practice-led researcher, artist and designer Zane Berzina works across the boundaries of design, art, textile crafts, materials science, electronics and theory with a main focus on the design and production processes. Zane Berzina holds a PhD from The University of Arts London, is Professor at the Art College Berlin-Weißensee, Germany and an Associate of the Goldsmiths Digital Studios, University of London as well as Co-founder of electronic-text+textiles in Riga, Latvia.

Jackson Tan completed his graduate diploma in architecture in University College London in 2005. He is the co-founding director of in square lab, an interdisciplinary architecture firm which focuses on architectural practice and research, in particularly within the field of responsive environments. Jackson’s works and writings have been widely exhibited and published in numerous countries, including Great Britain, Germany, USA, Sweden and others.