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Fashion and wearables at Gaité Lyrique

June 28 - July 2, 2017. Fashion Tech Festival, at Gaité lyrique (Paris). More Info

Read a critical paper by Karine Claude, illustrated by splendid photos, in The Makery.

A very impressive meeting, with a show, a fablab and a large expo. It lets us think that we are only at the dawn of a wide development of fashion tech using information technologies. The designers have just began to explore the wide toolbox now available. From sensors and actuators to control and behavior, including AI ("artificial intelligence"), these components are now cheap, of light weight and low energy consumers.

Indeed, tech fashion could offer digital art a major expansion domain, since it targets as well the VIP marketed by the major art shows as a large public with industrial products. It reaches even the DIY private home of fablab dress makers.

We will soon publish enhanced versions of our general notices about fabrics and wearable computing.

From a philosphical/sociological/political standpoint:
- The body gets here an importance minimized in other forms of digital art.
- It seems to be a more "feminist" kind of art. The major part of the dresses shown are for women, and a stronger proportion of the artists are women. But that could trigger some hot debates.

Let us now visit the show.

In this exposition, the ambient is cleverly softened by large tulle curtains. But in this ppost, we limit ourselves to a shot description ot the digital technologies presented, letting aside aesthetical analyses. For each piece, we note the sensor and the effect reached. We follow the order and structure of the press kit.

Note that the show included a rather important fablab, with a lot of machines, enabling some 20 attendants to realize their own projects.

Environmental commitment (dresses)

> Human Sensor (2016) , by Kasia Molga. A sensor analyses air in a respiratory mask, combines these data with the wearers breath, and modulates a swarm of color LEDs. When a sign of pollution is detected, the lights turn red.
> Tranquilitie (2016) , by Galina Mihaleva. A garment connects to calm environments, and displays the state of noise pollution in the city.
> The birth of Venus (2016) , by Danit Peleg. A dress is 3D printed into "filafex filament", with the same fluidity and movement as a conventional fabric.
> Symbiotic Interaction (2016, 17), by Maria Castellanos and Alberto Valverde. A garment carry tiny plants that monitors the surroundings and inform the wearer about "everything around".
> Augmented Jacket (2016), by Birce Ozkan. A magnetic sensor detects the direction of the wearer, and feathers lift when he/she walks towards the North.

Impact of the Intangible

> Connected Colors (2015), by Nobomichi Asai. A digital composition inspired by Nature is mapped onto a face.
> Kacho Fugetsu (2016), by Nobomichi Asai. Video mapping onto a dress.
> Reflect (2015), by Kunihiko Morinaga (and his brand Anrealage). A photosensitive fabric gets colors appear only under the flash of the public smartphones.
> KG project (2016), by Kailu Guan. Drawings are serigraphed on the garment, and a smartphone, when pased across some zones triggers a digital animation.
> Kinisi (2014), by Katia Vega. A kind of mocap, with some sensors on the face, a conductive eyeliner, controls the illumination of the headdress. Each movement of the lips or eyebrows generates a specific illumination.
> No(where) Now(here) (2014) by Ying Gao. Eye-tracking controls the ligths on the dress.
> Nuit Blanche (2016), by Anja Dragan and Elektrocouture. A jacket is illuminated by 336 Leds.
> Bodyscape (2017), by Behnaz Farahi. A gyroscope at shoulder level tracks the moves and translates them into visual scores according to lines of skin tension.

Intimacy and Society

> Antisurveillance coat (2016), by the Kovr group (Marcha Shagen and Leon Baauw). The coat is a sort of Faraday cage protecting again intrusion our cards or phones. Not properly digital, it seems, bor of course protection matters...
> Aposematic Jacket (2015), by Shinseungback Kimyonghunest. A set of cameras is sparsed onto the coat, and let a possible attacker know that he/she will be filmed, under a simple pression by the wearer. And the data are immediately forecast on the Web.
> Enlightenment (2016), by Birce Ozkan and Betty Quinn. An EEG (Electroencephalograph) headset controls the wings flapping of a butterfly.
> Chameleon Scarf (2014), by Aniela Hoitink (Neffa). Not digital. The scarf has three colors, reacting differently to body temperature, light and UV/
> Synapse Dress (2014), by Anouk Wipprecht, in collaboration with Nicola Casas and Intel. Sensors and an EEG set controls lights integrated in the dress. In cas of strong emotion, a hidden camera stores an image of the environment.
> Can't (2016), by Ying Gao. A facial expression recognition system (technology not indicated) controls the moves of a dress.
> Issho (2017), by Pauline Van Dongen. Sensors, not described in our dodumentation, control vibrators placed on the high part of the back.

Towards an augmented body

> Batuque (2016) by Ricardo O'Nascimento. Sound controls the vibration of fur balls.
> Sacré Coeur (2016), by Stijn Ossevoort. A sensor gets the heart beat, makes an external fabric heart vibrate and controls coordinated lights.
> Soundshirt (2015), by CuteCircuit, in collaboration with the Junge Symphoniker Hamburg. Sound signals from an orchestra are transtlated into vibrators placed on the body of the wearer. Basses touch the torso's lower parts, trebles touch the higher parts.
> Dynamic Skin (2016), by Aniela Hoitink (Neffa). Solar celles control the dress color (using thermochromic ink) and temperature (heating strands).
> Speaker Dress (2017), by Anouk Wipprecht. "A lot of sensors" (not specified) on the front of the dress compose music, emitted by shouder loudspeakers.
> Skinterface (2016), by the F_T_R Collective . Micromagnets and an immersive environment ("tracked through 3D space... .) create physical sensations.
> Transwarm Entities (2017), by Maartje Dijkstra. Four drones move around a 3D printed dress. Controlled by radio (Bitcraze), the drones move at the music rhythm and create a choreographic swarm.

Near the expo, we have also found the book Textiles, innovation et matières actives, by Florence Bost and Guillermo Crosetto (2014) which provides 247 pages of rich illustration, and a not of creators? . For the most part, the pieces presetrnted are more analog than digital. Some of them dig more deeply into the computing realm, notably;
> Wearable Forest (2008) by Ryoko Ueoka and Hiroki Kobayashi, Through remote sensors (probably mikes), the state of a forest is translated by the dress into sound and LEDs.
> Pu Gong Ying Tu (2013) by Jie Qi. A sensor detects a presence and LEDs light up.
> Flare (2009) by Stijn Ossevoort. When wind caresses (sensor not indicated) embroided dandelions, they alight.
> Charlie (2009) by Melissa Coleman. A coat includes memory cards which tell life slices of an old man into a sound set.

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