AudioturPerfect Bodies & Rebellious Machines
Perfect Bodies & Rebellious Machines: The political voices of the fashion-tech revolution
Curator: Melissa Coleman
The advance of technology promises utopias, but increasingly people fear it will only create a better future for the lucky few. Over the years Silicon Valley has been revealed to have a problem with diversity. From the controversies around the lack of menstrual period tracking in Apple’s Health Kit to the inability of some webcams to recognize dark-skinned faces it is clear that the tech industry has major blind spots when it comes to creating technology that is truly inclusive for everyone.
Wearables and fashion tech are at the frontier of the next tech revolution called the Internet of Things (“IoT”). Most IoT applications are digital interfaces for everyday objects. Wearables, fashion-tech and e-Textiles more specifically aim to digitise the space around the human body. The fashion industry has joined forces with the tech industry to transform once-geeky wearables into stylish objects of desire. Like the tech industry, the fashion industry has a history of promising utopia, the perfect body, yet delivering a culture that excludes a great number of people. Wearables and fashion-tech are often dismissed as being frivolous, gadgety and not useful enough. What is often overlooked is that fashion-tech has a revolutionary potential to touch deeply personal subjects such as identity, safety and privacy.
The exhibition Perfect Bodies & Rebellious Machines shows the artists that recognize this potential and use it to create alternative narratives about the body and technology that highlight the shortcomings of the fashion system and tech industry. They are course correcting our visions of the future by making them more poetic, more democratic and more inclusive of different types of gender, race, sexuality, ability and nationality.
The exhibition is divided into two categories: perfect bodies and rebellious machines. The perfect bodies use the language of the fashion system to critique tech culture and champion the outsiders. The rebellious machines use electronic and digital textiles as tools for empowerment: a revolutionary medium that can bring about political change.
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