[-empyre-] [empyre] wearable technology

Sarah Hamilton sjlhamilton at gmail.com
Tue Jan 28 06:05:36 EST 2014

Hi everyone,

The idea of technologically embedded clothes is one that I think intersects
with so many of our discourses. For instance, clothing can be a real life
actualization of memetic thought -- a quick survey of a group of people
(students in a class, people walking down the street, commuters on a train)
will show that most people wear roughly the same thing as each other.

With that in mind, I consider the relatively new consumer trend of
monitoring bracelets, either Nike, Jawbone or Fitbit. For those who are
unfamiliar with it, these are rubber bracelets that cost between $99-150
US, and monitor your heart rate and sleep patterns, among other things. The
impetus for these products is health related, as oppose to fashion related.

There's also been discussion of these products being used by primary
physicians to monitor the health of their patients.

At this point, clothing moves away from the aesthetic or convenient, and
towards health implications. When technology starts measuring our choices
in real time, how does that affect those decisions?

Sarah Hamilton

On Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 7:47 PM, Susan E Ryan <faryan at lsu.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>  Hello all,
>  I have been researching wearable technology, for the past several years,
> from the standpoint of dress.  In my book to come out in June, *Garments
> of Paradise: Wearable Discourse in the Digital Age *I argue that dress
> has always been a "technology" and advances historically as a particular
> type of technology, one subject to the social, expressive, and corporeal
> constraints of dress in any given period. At the same time, wearable
> technology (today) is subject to the regimes and mythologies of technology,
> such as the illusion of perfectibility (thus my title, loosely from Giorgio
> Agamben, who writes about dress in the Christian tradition: aspiring to the
> condition of the gauzy garments of light that Genesis suggests we wore
> before the Fall). Technology perfects us? Or that's what we aspire to?
>  I am interested in artists, like Joey Berzowska and Anouk Wipprecht and
> many, many others, who utilize the genre of dress as a means to broach some
> of the problems of becoming digitized
> in this way, discovering the imperfections in our quest for perfection.
>  Dress is different from being injected with technology, implantation, or
> any cyborgian merging, because dress is continuously dynamic in terms of
> form and type and its process involves the wearer, a material substrate,
> and whatever industries s/he draws garment/technologies from. It represents
> day-by-day choices and experiences and opportunities, as well as the
> ability to misuse, misappropriate--dress that uses technology in a deviant
> way.
>  So I find Katja's ideas about interaction to be especially interesting,
> because the phenomenon of wearing or dressing is constantly interactive on
> multiple levels, so that adding digital media to the mix (like the Glass)
> raises specific questions for how we exist, perform, and move about the
> world, and how the world mirrors us.
>  It's late and I'm just throwing a few things out to get this part of the
> discussion started.
>  Susan Elizabeth Ryan
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
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