Tincuta Heinzel

Disciplines: ArtArt sciences
Title and home institution: Senior Lecturer, Loughborough University, School of Design and Creative Arts
Category of Fellowship: Research residency
Residency length: February – July 2021

Research project 

Designano: The Aesthetics of Imperceptibility

Summary of the research project 

We live today in a world where the research on nano-scale materials promises to revolutionize the near future. Carbon nano-fibers and carbon nano-tubes will be soon part of the unseen infrastructure that will shape our world, our knowledge, and even our bodies. The main focus of the project is on nano-textiles and will be orientated towards the analysis of changes that occur with the transformation of textiles in sensors and actuators. All these changes provide both opportunities and challenges for design. The purpose of this project is to understand the issues design have to face by using nano-technologically produced and/or treated materials, knowing that even if their aspects rest unchanged, their performance is completely different. Therefore, the project will engage both in a theoretical research allowing to define the categories applied in the integration of nano-materials by design, and a practical one, delivering tools and methodologies for design. The two perspectives will inform each other. One of the expected outcomes of the project is the definition of a series of case studies which will combine information related to their technical, functional and perceptive aspects and the development of an educational kit for designers that will facilitate the understanding of nano-processes. This kit will be presented in an exhibition that I am going to organize at Iméra at the end of the residence. The publication of a paper summing the results, as well as the organization of an interdisciplinary seminar aims to ensure a larger visibility to the project. The main topics to be covered will be: aesthetics of imperceptibility, types of nano-objects, aesthetic / perceptive issues related to nano-technologies, design methodologies in the field of nano-materials, ecology of nano-materials, reactive and smart materials, interactive design, design theory.


After studying arts and textile design at the University of Arts in Cluj, Romania, I completed my studies (MA) in cultural anthropology at the «Babes-Bolyai» University in the same city. I received my thesis at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in 2012 with a thesis that examined the changes that have taken place in the field of textiles in the context of the development of digital production technologies and the introduction of new nano-materialstechnologically processed. I initiated, curated and coordinated several exhibition projects, such as “Artists in Industry” (Bucharest 2011-2013), “Haptosonics” (Oslo, 2013) and “Attempts, Failures, Trails and Errors” (Bergen / Bucharest / Maribor, 2017-2018). I worked as a researcher at the University of Arts in Berlin, Nottingham Trent University (UK), KHM – Academy of Digital Arts in Cologne (Germany) and ZKM – Media Arts Centre in Karlsruhe (Germany). After a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Cornell in the United States for nano-textile research, I am currently a lecturer at the University of Loughborough in the United Kingdom.

Appels à candidature

Les résidences de recherche que propose l’Iméra, Institut d’études avancées (IEA) d’Aix-Marseille Université, s’adressent aux chercheurs confirmés – académiques, scientifiques et/ou artistes. Ces résidences de recherche sont distribuées sur quatre programmes (« Arts & sciences : savoirs indisciplinés », « Explorations interdisciplinaires », « Méditerranée » et « Utopies nécessaires »).