Remember when you saw sci-fi movies as a kid and all the clothes seemed so space age and outlandish? Or how about that one kid in school who was brave enough to sport the blue Mohawk?
Today, many of these fashions and trends are much more commonplace, and sheesh, dare we say it–almost normal. And with the advent of 3D printing, if dressing like royalty from an outlying planet is what floats your boat, or spacecraft, with a few simple commands and some finesse, you can make whatever fashion statement you want, with a wide range of materials at your disposal.
For LA performance artist Tiffany Trenda, the goal is in using fashion to find a connection between technology and human interaction. You may be looking at her creations with a furled eyebrow and wondering what the process is here, but Trenda has quite a complex and integrated system going on within her 3D printed apparel, which premiered at CONTEXT Art Miami last month. What better way could there be to establish and study a connection than by examining heart activity? In truth, the getup looks rather terrifying. Surely, it’s probably not difficult to get someone’s heart racing once attention is turned upon them by what looks like to be a rather intimidating being completely adorned in black–and spiky–things.
The media performance artist refers to her fashion creation as ‘Ubiquitous States.’ Situated in the fingertips of the gothic suit, EEG sensors indicate signals from participants as the wearer touches traditional pulse points such as the wrist or neck. From within the suit, the wearer’s signals are able to be monitored as well.
While it may appear almost as if the wearer has a magic touch, the fashion system is actually quite scientific, allowing Trenda to gather data which is displayed on an integrated screen on the front of the clothing.
As she wears the suit and works with a participant, Trenda dons headphones in order to hear their heartbeat as she supposedly synchronizes with them, exploring how the technology works with human interaction. Their ‘connection’ is displayed on the monitor, with both the artist’s and the participant’s heartbeats shown in a cascade of falling light.
“We’re downloading, texting, interacting everywhere, at any point and any time; can we measure these new emotional connections digitally?” she asks.
Indeed, the artist does put great stock in what she is doing as being a science, and is convinced there is a substantial link between that and art.
“Both disciplines require a process,” says Trenda. “You come up with a hypothesis or an idea, which you test and test.”
While it may all seem a little farfetched indeed, seeing the two heartbeats (in video below) match up lends some validity–and fascination. It is a deliberate process as they work together to synergize their pulses and heartbeats. The result is that through technology, humans are able to connect on an entirely new level–and one that emanates from the very center and life force of our beings: the heart.
Ubiquitous States is a collaboration by 3D Systems, Janne Kyttanen, and Tiffany Trenda. Her work has also caught the attention of researchers, but according to some, like Dr. Panagiotis Mitkidis of Aarhus University in Denmark, while they believe this could absolutely be valid, they’d like to see further proof.
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