How does Intimacy 2.0 differ from Intimacy Black and Intimacy White?
Anouk Wipprecht: The idea for Intimacy 2.0 came up in a brainstorming session after Vienna Fashion Week. Although the fashion world responded enthusiastically to the 1.0 version of the project (Intimacy Black and Intimacy White), there was also a lot of confusion. Maybe that’s a logical consequence of working at the cutting edge of art, technology and fashion. Either way, the fashion world didn’t always understand our approach. Was it fashion? Or was it art, or a prototype? Those were the kinds of questions I got. I don’t make designs that follow trends or can be developed into a collection. My designs are more of a look into the future, and so I deviate from the usual way of working. To move Intimacy more in the direction of fashion, I decided to make a version that was more wearable and to combine the e-foil with leather. There’s also more emphasis placed on the top part now. And we’ve hidden the sensor in a matching envelope bag carried by the model. But there’s still so much work in this design that’s been done by hand that large-scale production would be impossible. I’d rather concentrate on making custom versions.
And you hear the art world criticizing fashion for being vacuous.
AW: Yeah, you’re trapped between two worlds. Whether or not fashion has substance I can’t say. Should a design have substance or should it communicate a message? I see my work as a formal investigation of the human body. For example, shoulders are interesting; they have an architectural quality. The combination of that with the fragile e-foil, which is sometimes transparent and then not, has a poetic quality. I think Intimacy and works like DareDroid are about control, too. Who has the power – the wearer, the audience or the technology?
Media art is often produced by teams of specialists. Can you tell us about your role in that process as a fashion designer?
AW: We worked on Intimacy 2.0 for more than two months. Of course, I already knew the Studio Roosegaarde team (Peter & Christiaan) from Intimacy Black, so it went really smoothly. I developed the designs and ideas in my own studio, and I spent one or two days a week with the team. We tested various forms and materials in the studio. The models are also really important in projects like this one, which stand or fall on a good performance. For Intimacy, we worked with two regular models. Lara’s my main model, who I often use as a persona; we get each other. And Aleide also has exactly the right bearing and knows how to get the feeling we want Intimacy to project across to the audience. The same is true of Robert Lunak’s photography. It’s all about getting the right balance.
Intimacy 2.0 is on view at the STRP festival in Eindhoven, November 2011.