[-empyre-] Wearables, distributed pointily

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Fri Jun 3 08:28:08 EST 2011

enjoyed the responses, and thanks to you all for additional commentaries on the work you do and your ideas, i was especially grateful to Danielle for her sharing her work ideas and for the other feedbacks...

>>Michèle schreibt
I also wanted to make a comment in response to the first part of Johannes' quote above, saying that no, I don't think we are always acutely conscious of our choices or what movements we make but this again is a whole other architecture of wearing and of subtle and persuasive marketing forces, peer pressures and a myriad of invisible pressures we may or may not respond to on a subconscious. But then again, consumers are far more savvy these days; so much is also intentional and understood within certain realms.>>

i tend to agree, yes, and perhaps didn't emphasize the ambiguities and paradoxes enough, although I mostly have argued cases here, in our discussion, that belong to the artistic performance side (as Sarah Kettley rightly points out) and the
cross over sciences (when i asked Janis about "performative sciences" and mentioned bio artists and their working with "wearables" that can be grown or biotechnically hybridized, and my examples were meant to be ironic, as a way of getting at fashions, on one hand, and at ethical/political issues on the other, if one were to think of Eduardo Kac and some of work also recently shown in Moscow, curated by Dmitry Bulatov and titled "Evolution Haute Couture" (Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age" (Part One - "Practice").  Thus not so much the areas of designing wearable technology for the everyday; the consumer markets I can hardly claim to know enough about.

For Simon Taylor's disappointment about the lack of criticality here, hmmm -- ah, now you make me curious...

Responding briefly to Sarah's remark ("... you mentioned that I spoke of your beloved wearables as gadgetry...."), well, that sounds like a misunderstanding, i think I entered the discussion after Janis and Ashley posted, and i had several questions and doubts that I addressed to Ashley's performance, and just to recap, i obviously don't find sensors and interactive werarable technologies very lovable or sexy at all, we've tried some over the past few years, mostly they were disappointing, artistically negligable, and compositionally uninteresting if you think of what performing arts (and musicians working with analog or digital instruments) can do. So the technological wearables are phased out.  We also looked at ways to examine how "control" works in these body-worn technologies, and how sensortized garments can be customized to an individual (character) and what would make such prototypes attractive to  others, to use or reuse,  and other contexts of interaction (game like scenarios, installations, locative media works). {don't follow fashion, use and reengineer something that's already out of date}. costumes in theatre are strange creatures anyway, and you wouldn't wear them to gallery openings. 

Sarah mentions "ways to explore output/expression as a dynamic over a larger area of the body.... [which] has been  done in garment form by others such as the Subtela research group and Joanna Berzowska (Montreal).... yes, and we looked at LED and thermochromic possibilities briefly but decided against them,  my initial disappointment with the whole "interactive" or participatory paradigm in the arts has not subsided, but new materials are becoming available, and they began to circulate between arts and science and fashion and sports and the medical therapeutic sectors, and that's why i began to ask questions about social choreographies and the gestural, in terms of why we invest certain new emphases on wearing (adopting style into embodiment); but we cannot generalize as people working in these sectors have different needs and expectations; 

 (re:  Danielle's magic), here i am still tempted to think that the gestures are limited  mostly because ideas of "our most visceral freedoms" are perverted and overdetermined; I shared Guillermo's text with you as I noted that most folks don't mind the scanner/detectors and the harrassment in airports and thus what are the abilities and civil rights in question here? 
I agree there are idiosyncratic relationships to body, obviously, and the examples that were given about "clumsiness as a direct design material" --  i found that quite intriguing, as it surely runs counter to the aesthetics that i was accused of waxing lyrical about. 

As a secret and uncritical admirer of lurid fashion trends, Simon, I include a couple of images fresh from the new men's footwear in Mexico and the Texas border; I plan to use them in my next dance workshop.

with regards
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