Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Skon: a light emitting hoodie

Very interesting piece of digital fashion done by Paula Kassenaar and Paula Segura Meccia from the design department I once was a part of myself: Wearable Senses at the Eindhoven University of Technology. To me, this piece is pure aesthetics. And in that respect, it shines. Interact with the shape of the hoodie, and the light reacts. As a one-week assignment this project hasn't strewn its full potentials yet, though already it can be felt how the aesthetics of soft technology could influence our lives. I would love to see a next version of this, maybe one in which the shape of the hoodie is more kneadable, and the light reacts in ways clearer corresponding to the wearer's actions. One interesting aesthetic use could be to use the light as a body movement trail: store activity patterns of the wearer throughout the day, and create an animation from these that continuously updates. This way, technology can become a peripheral awareness system we don't necessarily interact with consciously, but that more or less creates a dynamic field that filters our incoming perceptual data, setting the tone for how we act, like a gearbox that always runs on the background and evolves over time.

( Random train of thought: this is interesting stuff for a PhD work. A fundamental question then is: what is the parameter the system optimizes itself towards? I tend to say happiness. Then, define happiness. Do people know what happiness is, i.e. would we use it as an intrasubjective concept, do we treat it as a social construct, or can you even objectively define happiness? I always say that happiness is something people can only recognize when they have experienced it enough. People can say they are happy without knowing that there are even more supreme states of being. For me, pure and utmost happiness is the being rid of worry, frustration, irrelevant thoughts, so that you are in control of your mind, and instead of identifying with the mind you are the controller of the mind. Could you steer people towards this state of being in various situations? Since this work concerns the hoodie, what would be the power of visual neurofeedback in everyday life?)

No comments: