Thursday, May 20, 2010

Anti/Surveillance Fashion at Maker Faire!

5.17.2010 16:32
Getting ready for the Anti/Surveillance Fashion Show (rehearsal)

This show is going to present the work of scores of different people from all over the place. We have scoured the internet for examples of fashionable inventions meant to thwart – or aid – in surveillance. Everyone we have contacted is super excited about the idea, and we have been getting the most exciting things in the mail! Today we got a pair of mirrored underwear, designed to protect against upskirt photography. I haven't seen them yet, but to judge from the emails coming out of headquarters they are very effective. Hopefully I can take a photo at our rehearsal this evening, but the technology may thwart me. The TV suit is coming tonight, along with platform shoes designed to keep streetwalkers safe. ----Bzzzt! Both of those items are designed to increase -bzzzzt----- surveillance.

5.17.2010 19:01

eric boyd's northpaw belt

TV suit prep

shoe phone open

shoe phone closed

Watching prototypes come together for a presentation is so exciting! Problem solving on the fly, fixing those last little things, and figuring out why the systems that worked perfectly in the workshop DON'T anymore... last year for Pandora's Trunk storytime runway show, we had to sew a microphone into a dress five minutes before the show started, because the audio pickups weren't loud enough on their own over the crowd noise. The TV suit is definitely my favorite from the Anti/Surveillance show, it's kind of an unexpected way to execute the idea but sure to please the crowd, it was good for many smiles in the rehearsal! We spent some sewing time securing all the wires to the garment. I love it when needle and thread meet electrons. Trying the TV jacket onto smartypants model Meredith while she tries to show us how she pulled off an entirely unrelated electronics project, why yes we would like to include that as well. So many WIRES a-flyin! Looking for an extra RCA adaptor or 6. Female to Female?? The TV signal is shielded black and white so you can get away with murder.

Putting together a fashion show is an exercise in imagination. Without all the bodies in a room it's just a few little boxes with wires poking over the top. At NoiseBridge, even with everyone in the room, it just looks like a group of geeks sitting around. It takes an act of supreme imagination to co-ordinate all these little bits together into a presentation set to wow the socks off a crowd who has had their eyeballs stuffed with science and mayhem all weekend. A lot of these projects aren't exactly garments, either – lots of accessories, additions to your own wardrobe. Belts that can help you think or move, shoes that you can use covertly to communicate, or to send an alarm. Constantly under the lens of the camera, fashion is a natural form in which to explore the relationship between surveillance and culture. How are we watched? How do we watch? How do we present ourselves to the eyes of the world?