To live is to consume. Consumerism becomes excessive when it extends beyond what is needed. Excessive use of disposable plastic utensils during consumption of food products has caused environmental problems in the world. Most disposable plastic utensils are made of polystyrene, which is usually not being recycled because it is not cost effective. Consume is a dress that is designed to make wearer feel uncomfortable. It is made to look like it is consuming the wearer, likened to non-biodegradable plastic consuming Earth. Its unique user experience serves as a reminder of the detrimental environmental impact plastic waste has on Earth.
Medium: Disposable Plastic Spoons, Industrial Felt, Felt, Conductive Thread, Conductive Fabric, Bare Conductive Touch Board, Speakers
Blurring the boundary between low art and high art, bringing everyday products like inexpensive disposable plastic spoons into an art gallery.
The excessive use of disposable plastic spoons is likened to the excess consumption of this product in everyday life. Disposable plastic spoons were hand drilled and sewn onto the dress individually. A total of 600 spoons were used.
This project aims to get plastic back from the environment. As disposable plastic utensils are not being recycled in Singapore (because they are contaminated with food), these plastic waste go straight to the landfill or through incineration which are both hazardous to the environment. By getting plastics back from the environment, this is a great way to reuse these spoons which create awareness and bring attention to plastic utensils that we usually neglect.
Industrial Felt is made into a shoulder piece to restrict wearer’s movement. This reinforces the idea of being “consumed” by plastic waste.
Technology behind Consume dress
Bare Conductive Touch Board is connected to conductive fabric with conductive thread. The touch board is also connected to an external battery and fabric speakers.
Using a micro-controller that turns touch to sound, this is the technology behind Consume. When wearer is wearing the Consume dress, as she walks, her legs will touch the conductive fabric that will trigger the sounds from the touch board. The sounds made are to make wearer feel uncomfortable, as if the dress is consuming her, likened to plastic waste consuming Earth and eventually, humans.
Various sounds heard from Bare Conductive Touch Board are sounds made from plastics (plastic cups, plastic bags etc). They are designed to annoy wearer, reminding humans not to waste plastic.
More information on Bare Conductive Touch Board
Draw paper patterns on tracing paper with a pen. Cut out patterns and trace paper patterns onto an inexpensive fabric to create prototype. Try prototype on model and alter accordingly. Repeat this step until prototype fits well on model. Trace final paper patterns onto fashion fabric and cut out accordingly.
Sew fashion fabric with sewing machine, according to the markings. Use pins to secure pieces together.
Inner lining of Consume
Create shoulder piece with industrial felt. Sew velcro onto the ends of industrial felt.
Inner lining of Consume, with shoulder piece
Sew circuit with conductive thread. Connect Bare Conductive Touch Board with conductive fabric. Sounds have been pre-programmed into Bare Conductive Touch Board.
Conceal conductive thread circuits with stretchable fabric glue to protect them from potential damages
Drill hole onto individual spoon.
Sew each spoon onto the dress and repeat multiple times until the whole dress is filled with spoons.
Sewing in progress
Cut out shapes on industrial felt (shoulder piece) with penknife.
Sew more spoons onto industrial felt (shoulder piece).
Secure wires onto dress by sewing them.
Create a small pocket with little holes on the inside of the shoulder piece to hide speakers. Secure them in place by sewing with transparent thread.
Feedbacks at exhibition
After speaking to many visitors of the Sense and Sensuality exhibition at Art Science Museum, these are some of the comments I received from people from all walks of life (tourists, artists, designers, students and senior citizens).
- Clever to bring everyday object and something inexpensive into an art gallery. From far it looks expensive, when they went near, they realised its just spoons
- Shared with me that plastic bottles are used to build houses in Nigeria. Agreed that plastic utensils are not given enough attention.
- Have never seen something like that in the digital fashion week, have never seen a spoon dress being exhibited in an art gallery.
- Should sell my products so that more people are aware of this issue. I should make functional products with this technique.
- Further this project and make a series of products.