i just saw this post today:

i'm looking to compile resources for wearables + wearable tech.

is there a wearables group/focus on here?

anyone working with wearables?

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hello Jaki

thanks for the reference, i just came across your post.
I am not sure that there is a wearables focus group. Might be interesting to have one.

I wouldn't say that my lab in London specializes in wearables, but we like to work with them and design them (meaning we integrate off the shelf sensors into our garments and into wearing concepts for performance and for real time composition), and since this only recently (over the past two, three years) became an issue to challenge dance and performance (in fashion it's been around slightly longer but not necessary always fully developed, even if Chalayan and others designed interesting garments), there is much growth expected in this area of research.... especially if "wearable" extends to all sorts of re-engineered tools (and also beyond the electro-acoustic as it was used already 10, 15 years ago by AudioGruppe);

perhaps the phenomenon of the wearables (and what might happen with Wii and non-direct interfaces now) could be addressed in the digital tools group, which i visite dsome time ago when talk happened on digital puppetry.

Woodhead Publishing House in Cambridge is preparing a new book on wearables that is coming out this year.

Johannes Birringer
Hi! I have done some work with a designer that wove LED's into her costumes. And I'm interested in incorporating sensors into clothing for performance...
hallo Kristin:

interesting. you wouldn't be talking of Barbara Layne (Montreal, Hexagram)? - she had designed a shirt/pullover a couple, or three, years ago, which she showed to me at a meeting we had at SF in Vancouver, it was a very intresting piece she had designed for Yacov Sharir to dance/choreograph with. I suppose LED became interesting to some industrial manufacturer/design firms (Philips) as well, and probably will become more and more widespread.

I haven't seen much good use made of this integrated technology in performance though. And that might the question really, regarding all wearables, what are we using them for, in regard to aesthetics of performance, and performance content, and/or interactive design (for example between exhibition and receicing audience or participating audience). Once you incorporate, then what. Or rather, I'd suggest all these questions need to come before integrating "technology" or intelligence into clothes or accessories.

accelerometers are accessories, to some extent, aren't they?

Hi Johannes,

I worked with an Iraqi/New Zealand designer by the name of Bambi Fadhli. The leds were definitely just an accessory to add to the aesthetics of the project (which was using cutting edge materials that bound the dancer in certain places therefor creating new movement out of limitation)

However I originally became interested in the project with the thought that a performer can be self-lit and could possibly control his/her own lighting in performance. Of course that didn't really happen but theoretically, I assume wearable leds could by controlled by sensors and made to do a variety of aesthetic things. and could be built to be a sort of wearable sculpture if it fit the work?

i agree about finding good use and having a strong reason to use them in performance. though its fun to know they exist if the opportunity comes along to need them...

how difficult are accelerometers to use? I haven't experimented with them yet. and was just thinking of an interesting project that could use them...

Hi Kristin,
i am interested in what you say, in your response, about wanting to work with a performer who can be "self-lit" and / or control her or his own lighting (you mean on the dress/ inside the wearable?)?

I think my collaborator Michele Danjoux recently mentioned a design by a young fashion graduate, Sarah Eccles, at Nottingham Trent University, whose final show featured luminescent dresses and whose research interests are fashion/animation/light/technology.

I will ask Michele whether a picture of the Eclles collection might be put here for you look at.

I am also just thinking of how we can trace this interest back, and connect performance and design experiments (on the wearables and with wearables) to artistic ideas stemming from similar or past experimentations with projective media, light, sculpture kinetic art and the visual arts as well as music.

(you mention wearable sculptures, and that could also link us back to the plastic art dimension in Schlemmer's work and the Bauhaus, to architects (Greg Lynn and his "animate forms" and also his fascinating collaborative piece with painter Fabian Marcaccio, have you heard of it -- called "Predator") -- and fashion designers of recent years, like Chalayan, but also to such idiosyncratic women artists like Rebecca Horn who built her own "wearable" and body accessories or bodysculputural accoutrements in the 1970s, quite some time before the notion of wearables - as in wearable computing and interactive, close-to-the-skin tools - became part of the kind of "social" or aesthetic choreographies described by some of us here in these pages or described by Susan Kozel in her new book CLOSER: Performance, Technology, Phenomenology, -- i think her last chapter is on wearable computing and the skin.....).

I just saw that a new book is out on Loie Fuller, there we go:

Ann Cooper Albright, Traces of Light: Absence and Presence in the Work of Loie Fuller, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2007).

Hi Jaki,

I've been compiling wearable resources in my del.icio.us bookmarks. Here's link to "wearables" tag.
I've just become a member of dance-tech and my focus is wearables. I'm half-way through a phd looking at how technology might be paired with the body to poeticise experience and what this might even mean. some of my work can be seen here: daniellewilde.com more will be posted soon.

I delivered a talk about my research on Monday, that will be podcast in the next week or so, that I think/hope will be of interest - I provide quite a broad survey of the field of wearables, to provide a context for my investigation, then go on to discuss some of my work, which includes a series of experiments (relevant to this discussion) called Light Arrays, that extend the body with light (2 versions - 1 with lasers and 1 with LEDs). How this work differs to Chalayan/Waldemeyer's work with LEDs and Lasers is that his/their work moves on the body but it doesn't actually reflect the dynamic of the moving body. as is common in fashion design, the body in chalayan/Waldemeyer's work is a support for the system/garment; whereas in the Light Arrays the lights sit perpendicular to the body (the spine; the limbs; different articulations; etc - it's a modular system), so provide insight into how our body shifts and changes as it moves, and how our gestures touch space. amongst other things the Light Arrays provide a bridge between visual perception and pro-prioception. The project is still in a highly experimental/exploratory stage but the outcomes to date have been incredibly rich. I'll be putting something on my website soon about it - for the moment there's a workshop publication of the proposed idea here (presented at Pervasive Expression in Sydney in May this year), which touches on where the idea comes from. Otherwise I'll let you know when the podcast of the talk is up and when my site gets updated.

re publications:
Springer just published a book called Fashionable Technology, edited by Sabine Seymour, which provides a "compact" survey of the field. It's not at all focused on performance, it's focused on "the intersection of design, fashion, science and technology". While there are no real surprises in there for people familiar with the field, I think it's a useful reference as it pulls a lot of work together and it has a reasonable resources section.

and I've been thinking of making an interactive site that can act as a dynamic (updatable) resource for wearable and body-centric technology because, while all of this stuff is online it's disparate and rarely easily searchable, so I think the need exists. Also, while books are important they are fixed in time and it's such a dynamic field.

for info, my background is physical performance, design for theatre and architecture, and interaction design (RCA, London). I'm currently based at Monash University in Melbourne, in the faculty of art and design, and at the CSIRO division of textile and fibre technology

sorry, forgot to add:

my del.icio.us links tagged wearables are here. there's probably a lot of crossover with doug's links so apologies for the obsolescence.

and the site I'm thinking of making would be a moderated wiki, searchable through technology, input, output (light, sound, shape, colour change...), and body part. please feel free to let me know if you think this is of interest (and if you or people you know would be willing to contribute)

Hi Danielle
I'm a dance artist based in Leeds, UK
I've just become a member of dance-tech because I'm interested in site specific dance performance and I'm working on an idea of making a performance using wearable light, projecting lights, lasers, Led light. My interested is to use the light to create dynamics on space, sculpture image, and as I'll use a dark outside space my interest is to experiment on the relations between the projecting lights coming from the body and the elements and space around.

I'm doing research about wearable light,led light and laser pointer;
the thing is that I would like the performers be able to control all the lighting by them self with easy control.

As this is a project at its early stage I'm looking for suggestions, advices as well as contributions and collaborations.

please let me know any kind of thoughts and suggestions.

hello Danielle, hello Vanessa:

it was great to read your posts, and of course, welcome to this discussion and our dance tech net community......
Danielle raises some issues for discussion that I would be interested in pursuing, yet need to read your posts (on your website) first - such as the paper you linked ("Extruding the Body with Light......)..... -- what was Pervasive Expression like? who attended this? ...... --- so that i can grasp better what you mean by with the Light Arrays the lights sit perpendicular to the body>>....

Vanessa's interes in light is also fascinating. It is not a field of practice i am very deeply involved in, although light is now beginning to interest me more and more, in relationship to the use of projection and the designing of interfaces.

I am still making mjy way slowly through the book I mentioned earlier (Traces of Light: Absence and Presence in the Work of Loie Fuller), and it would be good if i could study Chalayan's dresses more. One of them was exhibited not too long ago at "Skin and Bones" (exhibition) in London, and i looked at it for a while (even though the laser is also perhaps not good for your eyes)......Working with laser in performance (using performer as "controller") is something I'd like to hear more about. As it happens, a musician/composer I work with - Marko Ciciliani - is doing his research on the relations of music (performance) to light/laser, and I have a feeling Marko would also be quite interested in hearing more about work done in the dance field, in relation to light and interface composition.

If you are interested, i started to collect some thoughts and writings on the subject of music/ performance / light / visualization on my Interaktionslabor website (> theory pages of the 2008 lab which took place in Brasil). Go to the "Theorie" pages of:

Interaktionslabor 2008

Marko's writing on his work with lasers is also represented there, and morer writing is going to appear, so those pages could also serve a little bit as a resource. Thanks for your mentioning of sources, Danielle, that was very helpful.

finally, a small footnote.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine recently published a reveiw of an audio recording that was just released, "Oskar Schlemmer, Das Triadische Ballett, Musik von Hans-Joachim Hespos." Academy ACA 0085232 (edel classics), and there was a stunning photo of this new staging and recreation of Schlemmer's Triadic ballet (Berliner Akademie der Künste, 1997, choreographic direction by Gerhard Bohner to new music composed by Hespos.......... and the photo showed two dancers, one of them wearing the kind of sculptural /metal disc that now makes me wonder about the "hipDISK", Danielle, that is depicted in your research report. does your disk generate light?

The Schlemmer/Bohner/Hespos recording has been reviewed by the NYTimes as well, you can find it easily. I wouldn't mind having a look at the original dresses/costumes, to get a better sense of the materials the Bauhaus artists used. The FAZ mentions that all 9 original (of 18) preserved costumes from Schlemmer's ballet from the 1920s are stored at the Neue Stuttgarter Staatsgalerie in Germany.

more soon
what a great and useful thread to return back to!

i was taking a look at this in light on the new site i launched with jody sperling - her new work Ghosts is featuring a wearable LED suit.

take a look at the photos via her flickr acct
hi Jaki, hi all

thanks for this reference to Jody's new work. The photograph in your first link looks truly beautiful (and i am of course interested in seeing this rekindled interest in Loïe Fuller's early 20th century electrical dances. The demo video was also interesting, and one
cannot easily tell whether the lights are LED or could also be
small (colored) lightbulbs. I wonder how the colors are switched and what the underlying concept of the dance is, i gather from the brief descriptions that in other scenes of the work there are video projections into the garments? so there is an external source of light/image and a wearable in the piece.

For those joining this group or reading about it, I'd like to add that i remember now (thinking of our history of experimentation within the dance and dance tech community) an earlier precedent of an artist choreographic with light, it is Seth Riskin, and I remember seeing him perform with his abstract lighting designs (onto the body and of the body with wearables) at the 1999 IDAT dance and technology festivak/conference in Tempe (ASU). I haven't heard of Seth's work lately, does anyone know what he is up to. His website seems to be here.

Johannes Birringer


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