Taiknam Hat

Taiknam Hat is a kinetic head-wear that reacts and animates in accordance with the changes in its surrounding medium wave radio signals.

The intention of the project is to materialize the invisible and to contribute to the awareness of the increasing electromagnetic radiation. The co-existence of all electromagnetic waves that radiate from physical devices (light, microwaves, x-rays, and TV and radio transmissions) creates an invisible landscape that interacts with physical space and its inhabitants. It has long been noted that the expansion of uses for electrical, electronic and radio devices is converting this landscape into a new form of pollution which is known as electrosmog.

Medium waves are generated by radio transmitters which are ranked among the most powerful sources that cause electrosmog. Although the electrosmog is not visible to us, it is claimed to cause in biological effects on humans and animals and the topic has also been a focus for various projects in the field of art and design.

This project is an alternative attempt to materialize the immaterial space of radio waves by emulating horripilation, an automatic instinctive reaction of living creatures to sources of irritation and stress. Horripilation, which can be defined as the erection of hairs or feathers in various species under certain emotional conditions (better known as goose bumps in human body), is a temporary and local change in the skin and claimed to be evolved as a part of the "fight-or-flight" reaction by some biologists. Numerous experiments on various animals report that animals respond to exterior threats with a reflex of their nervous system which results in either the animal fighting (anger emotion) or fleeing (fear emotion) and horripilation can be clearly observed in the moment of both reactions. Other than the primary emotions of anger and fear, in some animals, especially in birds, horripilation is also attached to another instinct, the instinct of "self-display/signaling".

Taiknam Hat aims to utilize the biological facts regarding the causes and properties of horripilation in birds as a metaphor, in order to express our bodies' irritation towards electromagnetic radiation as well as to create a visual and tactile signage of their existence for other people. The final idea of creating a kinetic headwear which provides a contemporary interpretation of the historical feather hats is moreover encouraged by the scientific findings that show that feathers themselves may act as microwave sensors. Therefore, the headwear employs a number of actual feathers. The feathers hat are mounted on the Taiknam Hat become activated and move according to the existence and amount of medium waves at a certain location while the person who wears the hat strolls through space.


The system is composed of movable feathers movements of which are operated by a motor that is activated by a medium wave detection system. The detection system constantly checks and verifies whether there are any medium waves in the environment. This live information is sent to a microcomputer. The microcomputer activates the motor and the mechanical structure that is holding the feathers and results in the kinetic behaviour of the feathers.

year: 2008

with: Ebru Kurbak