Research Critique: Dance Performance

Eiko and Koma: My Parents

Gestures & movement:


@ 0:54 – A lady grabbing onto twigs placed against her torso with her arms tense and trance-like facial expression.


@ 1:07 – “Land” – twisting of body against the ground/ in a writhing movement.


@ 4:01 – crab walking with elbows crossed between two people, then falling and trying to stand up again through the action of supporting each other with their arms interlocked.

The mover’s relationship to “the box”:

For most parts of the film, the movers are the main focus as they are located in the centre.

1:05 - 2:22
1:05 – 2:22

In the second segment (1:05 – 2:22) showing a remake version of “Land”, Oregon, WI: ADF Video, 1995 by Eiko and Koma, the movers were filmed on ground level with slow controlled panning of the camera to the right and slow gradual zooming out of the lens. We observe them in a third person point of view on their specially designed space of dirt and a neutral colour scheme achieved with the muted tones of their clothing and dim lighting.

2:23 – 3:58
2:23 – 3:58

After the third segment (2:23 – 3:58) showing some old films of Japan in the past, in the fourth segment (3:59 – 5:56), we see two people moving away from the lens towards a backdrop of a sea.


Crickets, birds chirping, sounds of nature, a wind instrument playing in the background, a person narrating at a time


Slow motion


Dramatic changes in actions and expressions,


Example 1 – A lady grabbing onto twigs while her expression changes slowly from one that appears as if she was in a trance (eyes half-closed and mouth hanging open uncontrollably) into an expression of shock, as if she was being stabbed with twigs @ 1:00.

From page 104 of Eiko and Koma: Dance Philosophy and Aesthetic by Shoko Yamahata Letton,

Some mountains are males, and others are females. These mountains make love at night and they separate before we know what happened. – Eiko

Example 2 – Two people who appear half-dressed squirming like worms or slithering like snakes on the ground, where the ground is dirt and soil, a scene described in the video as ‘Land’ where two mountains were said to be making love. Their body appear contorted in twisted positions which feels uncanny as they appear almost nonhuman @ 2:00.



 Motion Control

Gestures & movement:

Quick darting movement of the camera.






Liz Aggiss interacts with the camera and looks at us with a confrontational gaze. She made several unrefined gestures such as swiping her nose @ 2:08 and cleaning her teeth with her fingers @ 2:09, then spitting at the camera (at us) @2:18.






2:40 – 2:43, Liz Aggiss starts to push the walls of the confine space she is in, exhibiting acts of a claustrophobic.


@ 4:50, Liz Aggiss had expressions of fear as she jumps out of a cubicle with her mouth wide open.

The mover’s relationship to “the box”:

We view in the first person point of view, where our eyes are represented by the camera lens – inferred from the circular vignetting along the edges of the rectangular screen of the box.


At the beginning, we hear sound distortions resembling rapid fast forwarding and rewinding of a sound clip/ an operating vacuum cleaner.


@ 1:31, we can hear slight inputs of bone-cracking sound when Liz Aggiss moves her body and head. Sounds like dubstep can also be heard.

@ 2:08, we hear swiping, scrubbing and spitting sound.

@ 2:40, we hear creaking sound as Liz Aggiss pushes against the walls of the cubicle and sound of her body rubbing against the smooth walls along with deep, intense breathing.




@ 2:57, we hear a short excerpt of a music playing with a faint voice singing along to the tune which stops abruptly and plays again @4:16.


@ 4:30, as the lady back against one of the walls, we hear a clanking sound, almost as if a machine has started operating. The clanking and creaking sounds grew as the wall starts to sink inwards shrinking the space that Liz Aggiss is in.


@ 5:00, the music starts to play again after the sound of breaking glass. The music starts to sound like an opera.


Faster than normal speed that is similar to what a person with high adrenaline rush and high anxiety would experience.


Dramatic changes in actions,

@ 0:06, the screen lights up in a blink introducing us to what looks like soil and sand.

@ 0:20, we passed through a door in a blink into an apartment space towards a cat (that was frightened and ran away)


@ 0:28, we passed through another door into a bedroom where Liz Aggiss, who was wearing a long gown, sleeps on.


@ 0:35, we ascending to the air from the ground and viewed Liz Aggiss from a high angle.

@ 2.43, we entered Liz Aggiss’s head and is transported to a white/ blank/ empty landscape with a small cubicle in it. Liz Aggiss lies in the cubicle and the cubicle starts to shrink, forcing her to jump out of the white landscape into a bizarre landscape where she wears a red dress which was attached to the ground along the edges of the dress.

Depth of perception (how we see things in 3D):

Abrupt movement of camera where the camera tilts in various sharp angles, explaining rough handling of the camera in the first scene where our role comes out from underground. At the same time, the perception of space was described with mostly low angles inviting us into an ant’s point of view.


However @ 0:35, when the angle suddenly changes from low to high, we get the impression that our role is something that can fly. Liz Aggiss became the centre of attention and she interacts with the camera and with us through the screen. @ 6:39, the camera tilts 180 degrees, and Liz Aggiss who was standing shifted to be in an upside-down-hanging position.

DATAMOSHING (continuation on Research Critique: Glitch Aesthetics (The Collapse of PAL))

In this self-directed project, I refer to DATAMOSHING: Image bending under Glichet Resources (Click on me, you know you want to :)).

According to the resources, I made glitches with Audacity, an open source, cross-platform audio editor and recorder.

For this project, I would like to share 27 glitches (and one that is an original image I had created) in a pdf: Glitch with Audacity, where I create glitches through image bending with audacity.

The following is a short video I tried to piece together with sound tracks from YouTube. Credits for sound: Coolal and EB7BMV

As compared to the previous video I did titled Rosa Menkman (can be found here), the difference between the two can be observed by the experimental techniques. For the previous video, I made use of a pre-set online glitching tool to create the glitch images, whereas for this video, I experiment with image bending with Audacity.

This new approach provided me with a better understanding of how certain types of glitch are created. Audacity allows me to trace back my footsteps and work flexibly back and forth, whereas the pre-set online glitching tool does not have the “Step backwards”/ “Undo” button and the “Step forward”/ “Redo” button. Moreover, after working with Audacity, I realised that it provided me a wider scope of glitch patterns as compared to the pre-set online glitching tool. Personally, I actually prefer the aesthetics of the glitched images made with the online glitching tool. That being said, both Audacity and online glitching tool have proved to be very useful tools for creating glitch art.


Research Critique: Glitch Aesthetics (The Collapse of PAL)

To begin with, watch a short video of PAL coloured bars (stop at 0:40 if you don’t want to hurt your ears).

Phase Alternating Line (PAL) is a colour encoding system for analogue television used in broadcast television systems in most countries broadcasting at 625-line / 50 field (25 frame) per second (576i). Other common colour encoding systems are NTSC and SECAM.

Since I was so intrigue with PAL coloured bars and glitch as inspired by Rosa Menkman, I found a way to create a glitch video with the help of an image glitch tool and an extract of the sound track (14 seconds long) from the YouTube video above (Just for fun). I let the tool break the code for me, so I had an easy time.



Rosa Menkman is an artist and theorist who works with glitch, encoding and audio feedbacks, which are also known as visual noise artifacts. Visual noise artifacts usually occur from unintentional distortions in both analogue and digital media.


Menkman has written a book, ‘the Glitch Moment/um’, on glitch artifacts, co-facilitated the GLI.TC/H festivals and curated numerous exhibitions on glitch art. She is currently pursuing a PhD at Goldsmiths, London.

From page 8 of The Glitch Moment(um),

I describe the ‘glitch’ as a (actual and/or simulated) break from an expected or conventional flow of information or meaning within (digital) communication systems that results in a perceived accident or error.

Unlike many people who show dislike towards these accidents, Menkman shares an optimistic view on them. She sees these artifacts as a tool to help us understand the obfuscated alchemy of standardizations via resolutions. Rosa Menkman’s ‘resolutions’ are ‘studies of solution’. She investigates solutions between different kinds of materials, and what one wants to do with them.

From Rosa Menkman on Resolutions ,

when there is no real question, we need creative problems.

On Rosa Menkman on Resolutions by Institute of network cultures, Rosa Menkman explains why she started to study resolutions:

When she was in New York City, she was walking around even though she was not feeling well. A friend explained to her that he just got the flu vaccination, because there was a big outbreak of flu according to Google Flu Trends. Instead of getting a flu vaccination (like what her friend did) because big data are showing that it would be wise to do so, Rosa Menkman was more interested to know why she was not feeling well. She mentioned that the amount of available data/ information we can find with keywords is so great now, we are no longer bothered to ask questions anymore. Through her glitch explorations, Rosa Menkman advocates that we should learn how to make questions again.

The Collapse of PAL was a video footage first developed as a commission for SOUND & TELEVISION (Copenhagen, Dnk). It is based on the analogue PAL video signal, compressions, glitches and feedback artifacts that are complimented by (obsolete) soundscapes that originate from both analogue (PAL) and digital media (DVB). Rather than a stream-lined sound-image of digital convergence, SOUND & TELEVISION strives to act as a springboard for an aesthetic “media-clash” reflecting on the political-aesthetic of old and new media forms.

From page 8 of The Glitch Moment(um),

By introducing a critical and melodramatic narrative to a work of glitch art, I tried to underline that there is more to glitch art, and more at stake, than just design and aesthetics.

Apart from design and aesthetics, there is signal, noise, liveliness and flow along with standardized production formats in the aspects of the television medium which are reshaped in digital, networked media. The Collapse of PAL is a transmission art project that explores the performativity of television along with challenges brought about by a converging media cape.  In this performance, the transmission itself became the artwork. The performance reflects on different significant aspects of the changing conditions of broadcasting. In the new DVB-T (digital terrestrial television) environment, the very transmission format of TV has changed, from symmetric analog to asymmetric data flows, encoded in the MPEG format and decoded through software implemented in everything from flat-screen TV’s, set-top-boxes and PC’s.

In “The Collapse of PAL” (Eulogy, Obsequies and Requiem for the planes of blue phosphor), the Angel of History (as described by Walter Benjamin) reflects on the PAL signal and its termination. This death sentence, although executed in silence, was a brutally violent act that left PAL disregarded and obsolete. While it might be argued that the PAL signal is dead, it still exists as a trace left upon the new, ‘better’ digital technologies. PAL can, even though the technology is terminated, be found here as a historical form that newer technologies build upon, in- herit or have appropriated from. Besides this, the Angel also realizes that the new DVB signal that has been chosen over PAL is different, but at the same time also inherently flawed as PAL.

So what I understand from this passage is that there is a subject called “the Angel of History” who narrates the story of the termination of PAL signal. In the video, PAL was described to be inherently flawed as “a pile of debris growing skyward” and “connections that were just not good enough”. The new, ‘better’ digital technologies – DVB signal that takes the role of PAL today, was built upon PAL. As the new digital technology, DVB signal, was a development from PAL, traces of PAL remain evident in its inherent flaws. The Angel then realises that the idea of DVB signal having traces of inherent flaws similar to that of PAL, makes DVB signal inherently flawed too. This was quite ironic to me as one would expect that the newer technology should be better and not have persisting flaws from older technology.

Every form of glitch, whether breaking a flow or designed to look like it breaks a flow, will eventually become a new fashion.

To create the video, Menkman had exploited the analog PAL signal from a NES, image bending, a broken digital photo camera, teletekst, digital compression artifacts, video bending artifacts (DV, interlacing, datamoshing and black bursts) and feedback. For the sound, she used a cracklebox, feedback, a telephone eurosignal, morsecode an old Casio keyboard, feedback filters and a couple of DV-compressed video soundbends.

As much as I have researched on The Collapse of PAL, I cannot fully comprehend the process of its making, the tools and media as I have never worked and do not know how to start working on them. These are some of the other readings I did: PAL video timing specification for PAL signals and more readings on Rosa Menkman’s blog.

I would like to end off with two prominent music videos: Kayne West’s welcome to heartbreak (2009, directed by Nabil Elderkin), which was mentioned in a TED video by Rosa Menkman: Glitch – Benchmarking the deranged: Rosa Menkman at TEDxUtrecht, and Chairlift’s evident utensil (2009, Ray Tintori). I am interested on how the videos were made…going to find out more about it’s making and something called datamoshing.

Research Critique: Telematic Dreaming

Before we go into a summarized research on “Telematic Dreaming” with reference from ‘Virtual Bodies‘, I would like to address a few terms: the first, second, third and fourth space is defined by the local space, the foreign/ remote space, the virtual/ electronic space (non-edited) and the virtual/ electronic space (edited), respectively.

“Telematic Dreaming”, by Paul Sermon, is an installation made within the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). This installation enables two participants to engage in a strong sense of intimacy and shared presence in the third space, where they lie on beds in remote locations.

The set-up for “Telematic Dreaming” is as follow:

  1. Two beds are located in separate locations, one in an illuminated space (first space) and another in a blacked out space (second space).
  2. A camera is situated directly above the bed in the first space, sending out live video image of a person (local) lying on a bed to a video projector above the other bed in the second space, which projects the image onto the bed with another person (foreign) lying on it.
  3. A second camera next to the video projector sends a live video image of the projection of person (local) beside person (foreign) back to a series of monitors surrounding the bed in the first space.

From page 216 of ‘Virtual Bodies’,

Seeing is feeling.

In “Telematic Dreaming”, two participants are not allowed physical touch and can only feel each other using their sense of sight. However, I can’t help but ask the question: Can we touch with our eyes?

Also, from page 216 of ‘Virtual Bodies’,

Digital design oscillates between the physical and the virtual, just as it oscillates between the reflective and the transparent.

The telepresent projection surface acts as a mirror that reflects one person (local) within the reflection of another person (foreign). At the same time, these reflections forces participants to form relationships with each other through a transparent touch – a touch that cannot be felt by their corporeal body.

I think; therefore I am.

Cartesian dualism is a belief that there are two kinds of reality: material and immaterial. This principle is supported by René Descartes, a French philosopher, who believes that the body and the mind are separate from each other. There is an increasing acceptance of the principle of Cartesian dualism where people believe that the virtual body is disembodied and unrelated to the physical world. In ‘Telematic Dreaming’, it is easy to assume that a projected image is merely a reflection of reality and not reality itself. While it is a fact that the projected image appears to be a reflection of reality, it is superficial to say that the projected image is separated from reality completely.

I seldom feel without thinking, or think without feeling.

We cannot touch with our eyes but we can materialise what we see as the feeling of being touched or touching another. This belief is further emphasized by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an English poet, who was quoted saying, “I seldom feel without thinking, or think without feeling.” The visual images registered in our minds can be led by our thoughts to be associated with certain emotions which may build up to become feelings.

Take for example,

Man presents a rose
Man presents a rose

I see a man presents a rose to me,

I am happy,

I feel loved.






Man flirting with a woman
Man flirting with a woman

I see the man who I love flirting with another woman,

I am angry,

I feel my body heat up.



As the principle attributes of the mind and the body does not exclude each other, we cannot refer to the principle of Cartesian dualism to explain that the virtual body is different from the corporeal body. Likewise we cannot assume that the virtual body is separate from the corporeal body.

From page 217 of ‘Virtual Bodies’,

But Sermon deliberately avoids providing an audio link so as to concentrate attention on the meeting of two bodies separated in real space but virtually conjoined: “human interaction was reduced to its simplest essence: touch, trust, vulnerability.”

To further emphasize on the visual aspect of this project, Sermon prevents participants from communicating with each other by removing the audio function from the live video. This way he portrayed human interaction in its essential form of touch, trust and vulnerability, relying solely on sight for the success of his work.

Meeting of two bodies separated in real space but virtually conjoined

While participants place themselves in vulnerable positions as they expose their emotions to each other through actions and sight, they can be selective with what they want to believe in. In the case where a man in the second space punches a projected image of a woman in the first space, the woman can choose to close her eyes or deny the act of violence and brutality from the third space such that she no longer believes that the image of the woman in the third space is herself.

From page 218 of ‘Virtual Bodies’,

the distinction between materiality and immateriality in the technology is movement: as moving beings people take on an alternative materiality, while objects become immaterial in their inertia

Rather than choosing to believe that the virtual body is separated from the corporeal body and is incapable of materiality, Suzan Kozel, one of Britain’s leading dance and technology artists, chooses to believe that an alternative materiality exist in the virtual body as the emotions felt through the mind can stimulate the body to react accordingly – just as when she held out her hand in the first space, to ‘receive’ the rose that was presented to her from a man in the second space. She believes that the only difference between virtual (mind) and reality (body) is movement – while she exerts materiality in the first space by moving her hand, she appears to be exerting an alternative materiality in the third space (as we see only an image of her and not her physical body) and the rose (object) appear immaterial in the third space (as the rose is intangible to her in all of the spaces since the rose does not exist physically in the first and third space and she does not exist physically in the second space to be able to really touch the rose – they are on parallel planes).

To conclude, Sermon’s “Telematic Dreaming” explores into the materiality and immateriality realm of touch where participants interact on a psychological/ spiritual level by using their minds to develop emotions and feelings of touch. If I were to appreciate “Telematic Dreaming” like how I would appreciate a painting, I feel that ‘movement’ in performance is the subject and the use of ‘third space’ and ‘sight’ is the medium, the vehicle that brings us the performance.

And yes, I am terrible at summarising because this post is definitely more than a thousand words.

More on Cartesian Dualism



This post is a reflection on what I have learnt in programming during the lesson on week 4.

Programming can be summarised into three terms:

Input –> Controller –> Output

Using Arduino, a software development kit (SDK), we can programme electronic components such as the LilyPad in three steps:

Programme –> Compile –> Upload

To start off, we download the software here and install it for use.

Once the software installation is complete, we can open by double-clicking the icon and we should get what is shown in Fig. 1.1.

Fig. 1.1 Arduino is a software development kit (SDK) which can be used to programme Uno, Mega and Lilypad
Fig. 1.1
Arduino is a software development kit (SDK) which can be used to programme Uno, Mega and LilyPad


LED Light and Infrared Sensor

To begin, we connect the LilyPad in place using a USB adapter to our computers/ laptops.

Lilypad with USB adapter
Lilypad with USB adapter

Next we proceed to a number of steps to test for the LED light:

  1. “Tools” –> “Board…” –> “LilyPad Arduino”
  2. “Tools –> “Port”
  3. “File” –> “Examples” –> “01. Basics” –> “Blink” (Fig. 1.2)
Fig. 1.2
Fig. 1.2

We attach an LED light to the LilyPad using wire cables, where the positive terminal (Anode) of the LED is the longer end as compared to the negative terminal (Cathode).

Blue LED
Wire cable








To verify for errors during programming, we can click on the tick button (Fig. 1.3) and refer to a black bar below (Fig. 1.4).



Programming 1.3
Fig. 1.3 Verify errors and upload


Fig. 1.4 Black bar and red highlights for errors
Fig. 1.4
Black bar and red highlights for errors

Refer to Fig. 1.5 for more.

Programming 1.5
Fig. 1.5

To conclude, the lesson on programming was something new to me. I learnt the physical appearances and to differentiate between components such as the old LilyPad versions from the new ones (New version has an additional SD card holder unlike the old version that only has a charging port). I believe that there is still a long way before we can materialise our learnings through hands-on practice. I hope that my post would be beneficial in guiding me and my peers to do well in programming.

Growing Clothes

Short introduction to Suzanne Lee

Suzanne Lee is a researcher and designer from the School of Fashion & Textiles at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She is also an author of the 2007 book, Fashioning The Future: tomorrow’s wardrobe, which was the first publication to explore how technology could transform fashion.








She researched into Bio Couture, a type of fiber that can be decomposed by living beings. Its rationale is using the microorganism to foster the growth of vegetable fiber, also known in biological term as cellulose. In the following TED video, she shares how the raw materials of Bio Couture can be grown into fashion wearables and the pros and cons of such fashion wear.



Bio Couture

Bio Couture is a London-based design consultancy that is pioneering the use of bio-materials for the fashion, sportswear and luxury sectors.

Kombucha refers to any of a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks
Kombucha refers to any of a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks


“There’s a whole spectrum of organisms that can grow material,”

The founder of Bio Couture, Suzanne Lee, explores how organisms like bacteria, yeast, fungi and algae could be harnessed to produce fabrics. She uses a kombucha recipe (tea + sugar + a few microbes + a little time), a symbiotic mix of bacteria, yeasts and other micro-organisms, which spin cellulose in a fermentation process. After a harvest, the fermented liquid can be reused to grow more cellulose, a cycle that repeats over and over again. The way she has applied the microorganism’s survival mechanism, where bacteria feeds on the sugar in the fermented liquid, to the design on the fiber is a concept of Biomimicry, which is to transform the observations of the nature to the design of the clothing.

“What attracts me to it is that it’s compostable. It’s not just biodegradable, it’s compostable. So you could throw it away like you would your vegetable peelings.”

Positive attributes

The creation of biodegradable and compostable clothing is one positive attribute that Bio Couture brought to us. Since Bio Couture can be produced without creating pollution to the environment, it will not damage the environment. Therefore, it can become an ecological design for the sustainable use.

Indigo Dyed Jacket
Indigo Dyed Jacket

Another good thing about Bio Couture would be that we can make the fibre change color without using dye by a process of iron oxidation. Organic patterning can be made using fruit and vegetable staining. The use of indigo will make it anti-microbial, an agent that kills microorganisms or inhibits their growth. In fact, cotton would take up to 18 dips in indigo to achieve a colour as dark as dipping the cellulose once in indigo because of the super-absorbency of the cellulose.

In fact, we can grow the fibre at a waste sugar stream from a food processing plant.

Negative attributes

Laying a cellulose sheet to dry
Laying a cellulose sheet to dry



There are a few limitations and procedures to pay attention to in the growing process. A constant optimum temperature is required for the growth, thus Lee used a heat mat to sit the bath on and a thermostat to regulate the temperature of the bath. After harvesting the cellulose sheet, she washed it in cold, soapy water. The cellulose sheet would be heavy with 90% of it made up of water. Lee would then spread it out on a wooden sheet till it dries into something that looks like a flexible vegetable leather, which can then be sown into wearables. 

‘Flexible vegetable leather’







“What I can’t yet do is make it water-resistant.”

While the super-absorbency of the fibre allows for more effective dying, the hydrophilic nature of the garment would not only require time for drying but also fall apart due to the heaviness from the volume of rainwater absorbed on rainy days.

“The first thing is to be clear that the clothing is the same basic fiber as their cotton t-shirt – it’s pure cellulose – it has no bacteria in it.”

A few other challenges would be common misunderstandings of such wearables. One of the common misunderstandings was that people thought the clothes are made of bacteria.  The material for the clothes may be constructed with the help of microbes but they have no bacteria in it. Also, the clothes are not GM unlike some cotton t-shirt.

Suzanne Lee looking at her creation of in vitro leather
Suzanne Lee looking at her creation of in vitro leather










Bacterial cellulose is already being used for wound healing, and possibly in the future for biocompatible blood vessels and even replacement bone tissue. But with synthetic biology, we can actually imagine engineering this bacterium to produce something that gives us the quality, quantity and shape of material that we desire. Imagine growing consumable products with bacterial cellulose like a bed, a car and a house!

To conclude, while the discovery of Bio Couture with the concept of Biomimicry can be exciting, there is still much room for improvement in the scientific and technological aspect of the garment before we can stop harvesting leather at the expense of living animals and start mass-producing such wearables to everyone and not just the elites.

Adapted from

Interview: Suzanne Lee, Fashion Innovator Who Grows Clothing in the Laboratory


Gaze and sound activated dresses by Ying gao

Short Introduction to Ying Gao

“It’s really more about a poetic concept of uncertainty than about the technology itself. For me, technology is a way of making my idea visible,”

Ying Gao uses the phrase “City Mouse” to describe herself, as she is deeply inspired by the city’s non-physical elements such as air, sound, noise, light, movement, and the human’s gaze.


(No)where (Now)here

(No)where (Now)here is an interactive art piece, presenting two dresses that react to the human’s gaze. This means that the project relies entirely on the spectator’s gaze for the slight movements of photo luminescent thread.

Inspired by the essay entitled “Esthétique de la disparition” (The aesthetic of disappearance), by Paul Virilio (1979), Ying Gao explores the idea of absence/presence and of disappearance in this project.


















































































Incertitude represents the individual who worries about the future, thus, living in a divided present. It is a both a complicated and abstract work, where the clothing reacts only to the human voice.

This interactive garment is made of PVDF plastic, dressmaker pins, and electronic devices. The metallic fabric fringe is able to sense and respond to the wearer’s voice. Interacting with its environment, the motion generated by sound creates a wave-like ripple in the garment, causing it to contract and expand the entire outfit.

























































While Ying Gao works on her idea of creating the sound activated clothing, whereby both garments are activated by the spectator’s voice, she had to work with the engineering of the sensors carefully, to capture specific frequency of the human voice apart from the general sound. One problem that occurred during the making of the garment was that the sensor could not react to all types of voices. Ironically, an example of a voice that the sensor could not react to was Ying Gao’s voice, but that did not deter her from making her work a success.


All in all, I feel that Ying Gao’s works relies heavily on the audience’s participation. If there are no audience to stimulate the sensors with their gaze and voice, the work will appear meaningless. Therefore interaction is a very important factor in the invention of wearable technology. Similarly, the choice of material plays an equally important role in both function and appearance, such as the dressmaker pins which gives us the impression of a prickly armour – tense when the garment contracts and alarm when it expands like a puffer fish.


Bruce Moravchik, NOAA. Credit: Islands in the Stream Expedition 2002. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration.
Bruce Moravchik, NOAA. Credit: Islands in the Stream Expedition 2002. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration.


Open source technology has not been used directly with the garments, but used to document and distribute the designer’s idea and images of her creation globally. This allows us to gain new knowledge from sources and include them in our research work when we search on relevant topics online.


Adapted from

Mini Lesson: Ying Gao