It's rare to hear that a student majoring in electronics engineering can have hands-on experience working with Lady Gaga in the visual arts. This experience was experienced by Irmandy Wicaksono, a PhD candidate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology majoring in Media Arts and Sciences who started his path from an opportunity to design two mechatronic dresses for Lady Gaga. “I am an undergraduate engineering student in the UK and just had a one month internship experience with StudioXO in London,” said Wicaksono. "I took part in the development of two mechatronic dresses for Lady Gaga to wear at the iTunes festival in London and to display at the artRAVE event in Brooklyn."

Combining technology with textiles, Wicaksono worked with StudioXO, a fashion technology laboratory in London to develop a mechatronic gown called “Anemone” along with Lady Gaga's Cipher for her appearance at the iTunes Festival and the artRAVE campaign in 2013.

Lady Gaga in “Anemone” dress, a 3D white dress that integrates a bubble factory in her dress

With his abundant experience in the world of textiles and technology, Wicaksono was awarded the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts 2022 and received a prize of USD 5000. Wicaksono and two other 2022 Schnitzer Prize winners were able to exhibit their work at the Wiesner Student Art Gallery exhibition in the month of May 2022.

In an effort to bridge the physical body with the digital one, Wicaksono presented his latest project, “Tapis Magique”, a large-scale electronic knitted textile carpet that can sense the pressure of human steps and posture so that they can be converted into sound.

This Tapis Magique rug is made from the collaboration of synth artist Don Derek Haddad, dancer Loni Landon and Wicaksono himself. This work won the Student Innovation Award at the South by Southwest Festival 2022 (SXSW).

Wicaksono's ties to the world of textiles are actually intertwined with the influence of the surrounding cultural environment. The country of origin, Indonesia does have a rich textile tradition spread across various regions, such as Batik, Ikat, and Songket.

“Textiles and electronics share a lot of processes,” says Wicaksono, who hopes to one day be able to run his own design studio that works in blending art, science and technology.

Visit the online exhibition of the 2022 Schnitzer Award recipients in the Visual Arts. In addition to this digital exhibition, the 2022 Schnitzer Prize recipients will be featured in a live Wiesner Student Art Gallery group exhibition in May 2022.