DISTANCE

Concept

Distance is a kinetic wearable installation expressing a person’s physiological activity when meeting a stranger. This project uses three physical shell shape objects to exaggerate such reactions by covering the wearer’s face. Each object has its own framework and moving patterns unlike the rest representing different personalities.

Roles

  • Visual Designer
  • Fashion Designer
  • Interaction Designer
  • Software Developer

Gallery Settings


Personality 1
lives inside of his or her own world and always refuses to establish relationships with others.
 

 

 

 

 

Personality 2
reacts friendly, though keeps distance.

 

 

 

 

 

Personality 3
reserved at first, but gradually opens up.
 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

I believe an artwork should be an expression of beauty at first glance regardless of what concept it attempts to convey, which medium it appears in, or what kind of technique the artist used. During the process that a viewer explores this artwork, personal feelings and sympathies are anticipated to be revealed gradually. There are two directions I have been eagerly pursuing in the art domain. Firstly, the idea of a project is ingenious. It is not supposed to be a giant blueprint that can only be accomplished by masters, while it can be a simple and common idea which is not noticed by many people. Secondly, the project should reflect a professional level of skill.

Target

Through this thesis project, I would like to practice what I advocate and challenge myself . Thus, I selected an entirely new realm, fashion design, to interpret one of the most common activities in our daily life which is meeting strangers. Clothing serves as protection, maintains the wearer’s body temperature, and is also a decoration of the wearer’s body, a sign of the wearer’s faith, personality, gender and age. In this project, I used a movable object secured on the wearer’s shoulders to expand the reactions when meeting a stranger.

Research

Garments for Forced Intimacy by Andrea Vander Kooij, http://andreavanderkooij.com/works/

Andrea Vander Kooij, Garments for Forced Intimacy

I was impressed at the first sight of Andrea’s Garments for Forced Intimacy. She knitted wool yarn to make multiple head-gears for two people. Each one was a pair of connected single face masks, which can be worn by two people simultaneously.

The material she chose is usually used to keep wearers’ body temperature in cold weather, as a result it expressed a feeling of warmth. The good elasticity of wool yarn and the knitting technique she applied provided the scalability of this artwork. Such features let two wearers can stay in various distance and show their relationship.

I got inspiration from this project which was that a garment could demonstrate people’s relationship. Unlike the relationship in this project, intimacy, I chose strangeness as the key feeling in my thesis work.


Philips Design, SKIN Probe

The team who created this prototype explored technologies towards sensitive rather than intelligent direction. In this case, fashion was used as a medium responding to the wearer’s body and to visually express this person’s emotion. People were emphasized very much in this project. The flash and flowing lights were messages sent by the individual who wore it.

As an obscure way of communication, there might be two results. One is that the viewer could interpret it correctly, and give appropriate feedback. However, since it is a one way expression, it might not serve the wearer’s needs. I learnt from this project, and in my thesis I used multiple states of one garment to express the wearer’s psychological activities, furthermore, those different states of the fashion object could satisfy the wearer’s need for privacy.

SKIN Probe by Philips Design http://www.design.philips.com/


2007 SS One Hundred and Eleven by Hussein Chalayan, http://chalayan.com/2007-ss-one-hundred-and-eleven/

Hussein Chalayan, 2007 SS One Hundred and Eleven

In this cat walk show, models wore a series of kinetic clothes in which a long dress morphed into a short skirt and a white dress changed to a black one. Those changes were dramatic and beautiful. Such movements gave the clothes more expression.

Technology by 2D3D, http://www2.technologyreview.com/

I did research on the mechanism of this project and found out that a large amount of wires, tiny motors and hollow tubes were embedded beneath the clothes. Mono-filament wires were connected to geared motors and the outer layer of the garment to alter its shape. In my thesis, considering the limited time and ability, I put only one movement into one object. However, by controlling each one’s speed and moving direction, I could express different personalities without changing their structures.


Anouk Wipprecht, Spider Dress

Six animated robotic limbs were secured on the wearer’s shoulders. They moved so naturally that seemed like they were alive and had their own consciousness. The model’s dress was black matching those limbs, and the color theme of the documentation video was also dark which made this robotic dress even more mysterious.

I noticed there was a bag near the wears’ pelvis. It might be a container for batteries and its micro-controller. The same as this project, my work also needed to be portable and powered. Thus I decided to sew a small bag fastened on the wearer’s leg by straps.

Spider Dress by Anouk Wipprecht, http://www.anoukwipprecht.nl/projects.html

Personal Space by Edward T. Hall

In the physical social environment, there is an invisible surrounding area named personal space which was introduced by anthropologist Edward T. Hall. In his theory the surrounding area can be divided into 4 different circles.

Public Space

The largest circle, public space, is a distance further than 12 feet (7.6m), and is used for large audience conversation such as lectures and speeches.

Social Space

The second one called social space ranging from 4 to 12 feet (1.2m – 3.6m) away from the person and is usually occupied by social activities happened with strangers. For example, walking on a relatively not crowd sidewalk, people are tend to avoid standing with a stranger side by side, and prepare passing a stranger in advance.

Personal Space

The third space is personal space where most people have conversations with friends, family members or colleagues. It starts around 1.5 feet (45cm) from the person and ends about 4 feet (122cm) away, and the upper limit is also the trigger distance of this Distance project.

Intimate Space

The last space is intimate space closer than 1.5 feet serving for close friends, family members and lovers.

Sketch

sketch

Paper Prototype

sketch1
prototype_1

sketch2

prototype_2

sketch3

prototype_3

sketch4

prototype_4

sketch5

prototype_5

Color selection

I would like to use movements and shape to express my concept in this project, thus I removed color element which might distract viewers’ attentions. Whether the garments are under spot lights or the natural sunlight, shadows on a light color surface can be captured by eyes easily. And the moving shadow can help viewers understand the movements of these installations from any perspective. Therefore in gray scale, I chose white to make these objects and put black on mannequins and performers’ body.

I set three spot lights pointing each one from the ceiling, plus the sunshine shone through French windows of the gallery, as a result there were two lighting sources. Warm orange color brought by the spot light and cool blue color, filtered sunshine, added time based changeable colors to this project which was positive surprise beyond my plan.