Test_Lab: Fashionable Technology

A Tweet shirt that twitters, a performance of The Perfect Human, a presentation of the Hugshirt, and a debate with experts in techno-ethics and wearable technology.

May 2009
20:00 to 23:00
location: Eendrachtsstraat 10, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Featuring: Sabine Seymour (AT/US), Mark Coeckelbergh (NL), Aram Bartholl (DE), CuteCircuit: Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz (UK), and KOBAKANT: Mika Satomi (JP/AT) and Hannah Perner-Wilson (AT).

*The term Fashionable Technology is coined by Sabine Seymour.


Clothing is an aspect of the human physical appearance with considerable social significance. Styles, logos and prints mediate our self-expression and publicly communicate our personal tastes and preferences. Popular ways of doing so reflect what is in fashion, which is under constant change due to new developments in fabrics, construction methods, ancillary objects, and their (re-)combination by fashion designers. Recent advances in wearable technology have resulted in a variety of technologies that seamlessly connect to the human body, or are integrated into clothing (such as shape memory alloys, soft circuits, and embedded displays). As a result, more and more fashion designers are turning to the field of wearable technology for new developments. While these progressive fashion designers are currently setting the trend in fashionable technology with, what can broadly be considered, innocent implementations (such as embedded iPods, integrated LEDs, and adaptive contours), many artists and designers prophesize more provocative scenarios for the future of such technology. These artists foresee that this trend will eventually have an unprecedented social impact, due to the wide-ranging possibilities for self-expression, connectivity, and public communication of innovative fashionable technologies.  

The scenarios for fashionable technology sketched by these artists provoke philosophical discussion as to the social impact that such developments may have. Will the public display of Twitter messages on our clothing open up new opportunities for social engagement? Will this stimulate physical proximity or rather deter us from it? Would we share the same private information as we often do in online networks when we publicly display these messages on our bodies? How desirable are scenarios for more intimate fashionable technologies, such as mobile transmission of fashion-mediated physical sensations? And what happens when these garments fall prey to fashion hackers?!

This edition of Test_Lab has been organized in collaboration with Rotterdam's acclaimed philosophy cafe Arminius Denkcafe.



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Test_Lab: Fashionable Technology (2009) from V2_ on Vimeo.


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