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iMiniSkirt by CuteCircuit, Interactive LED Skirt, Cultural Coding


On Thursday, the CODED_COUTURE exhibit opened at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery. Of course, the exhibit had me at “wearable technology,” but I found the content curation around the idea of four types of coding to be interesting also! See below for some of my highlights.


Each piece of art in the exhibit was categorized as biological, cultural, psychological, or synergistic coding. Works labeled as biological were based on data taken from our genetic make-up or other body data. Those labeled as cultural contained data about our behavioral responses or cultural stereotypes, while the psychological label denoted data and responses from individual personality traits. Finally, works labeled as synergistic coding meant that the artist or designer had paired their work with the user’s response – the work was responsive or dependent on the user in some way.


Some of my favorite pieces in the CODED_COUTURE exhibit straddled the biological and psychological categories. The BioWear garment shown below “ruffles” the attached feathers in response to the wearer’s heart rate, using a heart rate monitor and Arduino.


BioWear Feathers

BioWear Art Piece by Rebecca Pailes-Friedman at the CODED_COUTURE Exhibit, Biological Coding


The Holy Dress was an interactive dress piece that shocks the user when they tell a lie. The garment has a microphone and will light up when the wearer talks. It also contains a commercial lie detector and a shock-training collar.


Holy Dress at the CODED_COUTURE Exhibit

Holy Dress by Coleman, Smelt, and Rotteveel, Psychological Coding


There were two sets of garments created by artist Ying Gao at the exhibit. They were both labeled as cultural coding, like the CuteCircuit skirt shown at the top of my post. The first set was gaze-activated and was titled (No) Where (Now) Here. The pieces were created with super organza, photoluminescent thread, PVDF, and electronic devices. I was intrigued by the PVDF material. It is a thermoplastic fluoropolymer with piezoelectric properties – this means that it can be used as an acoustic transducer or an actuator (think movement here). The artist didn’t provide much information about the electronic devices within the garment, but my guess is that stretches of the PVDF are set up as piezoelectric actuators which move when a voltage is applied. If anyone knows how these pieces are set up let me know in the comments!




The second set was titled Incertitudes, and was also made from PVDF with dressmaker pins and electronic devices. These pieces were designed to react and move based on the spectator’s voice. Unfortunately, none of the pieces were set up to be interactive at the exhibit, but check out the artist’s videos in my links to see these amazing pieces in action.





The exhibit runs through April 30th, 2016. Have you visited it? If not, are you planning a visit?

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