Susan Elizabeth Ryan, art history professor at LSU and author of Garments of Paradise: Wearable Discourse in the Digital Age (MIT Press, 2014), presented her paper, “Hyperdressing: Wearable Technology in the Time of Global Warming,” at Disruption—ISEA 2015, the 21st International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) in Vancouver.
“Hyperdressing” is inspired by the writings of Timothy Morton and his concepts of hyperobjects and ecological thought. Ryan’s paper views the evolution of wearable technologies in terms of both dressing and environmental awareness. Historically, dressing has always been bound with technology. Ideas, behaviors, and materials come together on our bodies so as to administer to our human condition. Since the rise of capitalism, the dominant paradigm for dressing has been fashion—one of the premises driving current trends in wearable technology alongside other drives like ubiquitous computing, affective computing, our innate yearning for perfection, and the Quantified Self.
But Ryan’s paper describes an alternative view of wearable technology that presumes a world increasingly beyond our control. As technology changes, dressing now undergoes transformation beyond the fashion paradigm, which serves individual self or self-identity, to a next phase. Will future dressing accessorize a Quantified Self based in biometric devices that accelerate environmental waste? Or might we dress for greater intimacy and openness amid overpowering natural forces and hyperobjects?
Read the full text of Ryan’s paper, “Hyperdressing: Wearable Technology in the Time of Global Warming,” isea2015.org/proceeding/submissions/ISEA2015_submission_38.pdf.
ISEA is one of the world’s most prominent international arts and technology events, bringing together scholarly, artistic, and scientific domains in an interdisciplinary discussion and showcase of creative productions applying new technologies in art, interactivity, and electronic and digital media. The event annually brings together artists, designers, academics, technologists, scientists, and general audience members in the thousands. The symposium consists of a peer reviewed conference, a series of exhibitions, and various partner events—from large-scale interactive artwork in public space to cutting edge electronic music performance. The series of ISEA symposia is coordinated by ISEA International. Founded in the Netherlands in 1990, ISEA International (formerly Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts) is an international non-profit organization fostering interdisciplinary academic discourse and exchange among culturally diverse organizations and individuals working with art, science and technology. Visit isea2015.org for more information about the symposium and conference.