Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Electric Skin

Suzi Webster is a Canadian Multimedia artist. In 2006, she created Electric Skin, made of Elumin8 printed LEDs, silk and sensors. The responsive garment turns the breath of the wearer into pulses of light. The wearer's inhalation and exhalation activate a breath sensor that dims and brightens the printed LED on the item of clothing. The wearer is immersed in the electric aqua light. Other viewers see the intimate breathing of the wearer as slow pulses of light on the exterior of the garment. The development of the interactive art piece is manifested in an installation that illustrates how performance can be used to inform the design of interactive clothing within an experiential environment. Electronic textile refers to a material that incorporates capabilities for sensing, communication, power transmission, and symbolic meanings as being equally important as functions. Her approach entices the viewer to become more aware of his environment, space and relations to others.

Inner -Outer

Electric Skin is a combination of object and performance that investigates divisions between the internal/external and mental/physical, and creates an experience of a luminal space which is neither inside nor outside, but is a third space in-between. The wearer of Electric Skin is connected to a power cable, and while the breath produces a seductive light, it also creates a threat and unease. The inhalation and exhalation of the wearer activates a breath sensor that dims and brightens the printed LED lights of the garment. Electric Skin presents the idea of making clothes that are bio-responsive in some way to either internal or external stimulation. The artist wanted to create a quiet space away from the Medias stimulation around us, but her work turned out to be intense to wear with the voltage of electricity coursing though the garment. Webster’s art installation shows that technology has an impact on human sensing and brings the wearer to an alter state of unconsciousness.
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