Montreal based fashion designer and professor at UQAM Ying Gao has created an unique collection of two dresses called (No)Where(Now)Here made from photo-luminescent thread and embedded eye-tracking technology.  The dress activates motion simply be being looked at. A photograph is said to be “spoiled” by blinking eyes –  however, here the concept of presence and of disappearance are questioned, as the experience of chiaroscuro (clarity/obscurity) is achieved through an unfixed gaze.

The project was inspired by the essay entitled “Esthétique de la disparition” (The aesthetic of disappearance), by Paul Virilio (1979). “Absence often occurs at breakfast time – the tea cup dropped, then spilled on the table being one of its most common consequences. Absence lasts but a few seconds, its beginning and end are sudden. However closed to outside impressions, the senses are awake. The return is as immediate as the departure, the suspended word or movement is picked up where it was left off as conscious time automatically reconstructs  itself, thus becoming continuous and free of any apparent interruption.”

Ying Gao questions our assumptions about clothing by combining urban design, architecture and multimedia. She explores the construction of the garment, taking her inspiration from the transformations of the social and urban environment. She believes that design is a medium situated in the technological rather than in the textile realm. Sensory technologies allow garments to become more playful and interactive. Ying Gao explores both the status of the individual, whose physical contours are transformed by external interferences, and the garment’s function as a fragile protective space. Her work testifies to the profound mutation of the world in which we live and carries with it a radical critical dimension that transcends technological experimentation.

While the dates are not yet confirmed, the (No)Where(Now)Here collection will be showcased at Shanghai’s Power Station of Art and the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto.

Check out the video of the dresses in motion:

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Photography by: Dominique Lafond

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