If you haven’t yet had a chance to see the ‘Wear Next’ exhibition at Artisan, I recommend you do.
Wearables is a broad concept that respective media this week wanted us to make it simple to understand. While I'm thankful for the exposure, upon reflection I believe the variety as well as complexity of the works on display was overlooked…
For example, I'd like to clarify that Without Fear: The Umbrella Movement (umbrella dress) by emerging artists from Hong Kong (Chan, Kwok & Li) was inspired by the extended sit-in protest in Hong Kong in late 2014. The movement at the time involved mass civil disobedience by pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. In this context, the dress was designed with civil safety in mind, and to protect the protestors, to enable them to wear shelter on their bodies and to blend-in with non-protestors during the day, and to transform to a protective shelter at night - a tent.
Other works within the exhibition are more technological, for example the mini-documentary Hacking the Body 2.0: Practical Investigations by Camille Baker (UK-based performance artist) and Kate Sicchio (New York choreographer & media artist) attempt to address ethical issues surrounding identity and data ownership when using wearable technology in performance. To do this, Baker & Sicchio develop methods to hack commercial wearable devices, as well as making handmade e-textile sensing-devices. They do this as a critical act of making, confronting issues of surveillance and control.
The exhibition as a whole is intended to provide a snapshot into the broad spectrum of wearables, from health management & self monitoring (health trackers and future implantable applications), to the expression of non-verbal modes of communication (proximity detectors, light, vibration) to environmental monitoring and interactions (sensing plants and measuring air quality) to the broader questions around ethics, data ownership and privacy. In all, the exhibition is about starting a discussion and generating debate, to trigger thoughts and opinions regarding the future role of wearable technology.
The exhibition is presented by Artisan and I co-curated it with my colleague Dr Rafael Gomez, Industrial Design Lecturer at QUT. The exhibition is open to the public until the 7th of November.
Wear Next_ 25 July - 7 November, 2015
Artisan Gallery 381 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
If you get a chance to drop-by - let me know what you think :)