Laboratory 12 is a sociopolitical work involving 3-D printed components and embedded technology combined with artisanal shoemaking. Shoes can be activated wirelessly from afar to perform tasks such as detecting radiation, recording sound, releasing a gas, DNA capture and even remote ignition. (Gunpowder Weaving ©). The project explores the possibilities of covertly integrating various computers into crafted objects without compromising design. Whilst the future of men’s bespoke footwear is also examined through a new construction combining traditional shoemaking methods with data scanning techniques used in 3-D printing.
Laboratory 12 takes its name from the secret poison laboratory of the KGB and was initially inspired by the high profile assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. This prompted the question: How far should your government go to secure its best interests? Each of the seven pairs of shoes are derived from a specific notion or concept unearthed through extensive research into documented tactics used by various security agencies worldwide. By interrogating the possibilities of how far governments are prepared to go to maintain a balance of power through bending international laws and manipulating the media, the work draws attention to the highly precarious nature of contemporary world politics.
Researched during a design residency and presented in a solo exhibition at the Fashion Space Gallery London. This project was led by Benjamin in collaboration with, Nanda Khaorapapong (wearable computing), Richard Beckett (material science) and Martyn Carter (3-d printing).