Tuesday, April 14, 2015

When fashion, art, and transhumanism collide

It is easy for me to dismiss fashion.

I'm just not into clothes, I really could not care less about trends and the French argot of the couture, and don't even get me started on if the dress is brown or blue or whatever. But while much of fashion seems trivial or superficial, that attitude makes it too easy to toss the baby out with the bathwater.

It is also art. A creative art.

If that doesn't garner at least modest interest from me, then the occasions when the art of fashion overlaps with transhumanism should be enough to get me to stand up and take notice. That overlap is exactly what is going on in this CNN profile of the Unseen Emporium in London.

The artists at that creative house have created bejeweled headdresses that change color according to the wearer's neural activity. Hyper-conductive stones and heat-sensitive ink aid in the process. That's not all the Unseen has in the offering:

"The three sculptural leather jackets are infused with dye formulas that change color in response to different stimuli: friction, the temperature and humidity of the room, and intense heat. In its own room is a fragile ceramic dress called Eighthsense, covered with hand-painted pixels that reflect brain activity detected by an accompanying EEG headset."

This is but another example in a long line of efforts to combine tailoring and fashion with digital technology. I've even written about such things long, long ago with posts on the LED dress for example. Even longer ago than that there was this story about "transformer clothing." These were dresses and the like that zip and unzip themselves or raise or switch out vertical slats to make the outfit more revealing. This is all innovative and intriguing steps in an artform, but the work being done at Unseen has an extra-appealing dimension to it.

As I said, there is a transhuman aspect to it. The clothing, even if on the most minimal of levels, has a technological interface with the body. This even goes beyond "wearable technology," allowing you to not only hack your outfit but yourself. Just another sign of the impending merger that at least a few out there choose to call The Singularity.

Geez. Next thing you know I'll be blogging about shoes.

Wait. Another thought about those "transformer" clothes. If they could be hacked, could a nefarious or mischievous sort cause a sudden pantsing? Hmmm.

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