Wired Wear: Mediating “Everyday” Performance, 2005
Bracelets that communicate your location to a central computer. Jackets with “soft” button controls to lock and unlock your front door. Antennas woven into military uniforms. Shirts with built-in heart and perspiration monitors. These are only a few examples of the fusion of clothing and computing, known now as “wearable technologies.” Innovative, invasive, and intriguing, devices like this are becoming part of our everyday existence.
“Wired Wear,” consists of a series of one-of-a-kind articles of clothing equipped with custom electronics. Each object is designed to fill a specific personal need and is fitted to my body’s measurements. This enables me to perform with them and demonstrate their use in the accompanying videos and in live tradeshow contexts. This combination of electronics, fashion design, and performance is what I call, “Performative Technologies.” “Performative Technologies” are devices developed specifically for me to perform in social interactions and public spaces, and most importantly, in the performance of my roles as woman, teacher, girlfriend, daughter. A typical cyborg hybridizes machine and organism in order to upgrade human physical performance, efficiency or utility. WiredWear enhances and expands performance beyond the athletic, economic, or theater contexts and draws attention to technology’s mediation of our everyday “performances.”
Recent discourses about Cyborgs often revolve around the ramifications of enhancing human capabilities—memory, intelligence, vision, and the larger topic of genetically engineering specific traits. In contrast to both of these, Wired Wear takes a playful and critical look at wearable technologies by providing humorous and poetic interventions into these disciplines.