(No)where (Now)here: Two Gaze-activated
Dresses by Ying Gao

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Fashion designer Ying Gao has fabricated a pair of dresses that writhe around and light up when someone stares at them (+ movie).

(No)where (Now)here: two gaze-activated dresses by Ying Gao

"We use an eye-tracking system so the dresses move when a spectator is staring," Ying Gao told Dezeen. "[The system] can also turn off the lights, then the dresses illuminate."

(No)where (Now)here: two gaze-activated dresses by Ying Gao

The gaze-activated dresses are embedded with eye-tracking technology that responds to an observer's gaze by activating tiny motors to move parts of the dresses in mesmerising patterns.

(No)where (Now)here: two gaze-activated dresses by Ying Gao

One dress is covered in tendrils of photo-luminescent thread that dangle from ruched fabric. On the other, glow-in-the-dark threads form a base layer with fabric cut into ribbons loosely bunched over the top.

(No)where (Now)here: two gaze-activated dresses by Ying Gao

With the lights off they create an effect similar to glowing sea creatures.

(No)where (Now)here: two gaze-activated dresses by Ying Gao

Called (No)where (Now)here: Two Gaze-activated Dresses the project will be exhibited at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art in November, then at the Textile Museum of Canada in spring 2014.

(No)where (Now)here: two gaze-activated dresses by Ying Gao

Ying Gao has also designed dresses that curl and unfurl in reaction to light, as well as garments that move as if they are breathing.

(No)where (Now)here: two gaze-activated dresses by Ying Gao

We've previously written about an eye-tracking camera that's controlled by blinking and squinting, plus plans to mark roads with luminescent paint so they glow at night.

(No)where (Now)here: two gaze-activated dresses by Ying Gao

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Here's some more information from Ying Gao:


(NO)WHERE (NOW)HERE: 2 interactive dresses

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."

The series comprising two dresses, made of photoluminescent thread and imbedded eye-tracking technology, is activated by a spectators' gaze. A photograph is said to be “spoiled” by blinking eyes – here however, the concept of presence and of disappearance are questioned, as the experience of chiaroscuro (clarity/obscurity) is achieved through an unfixed gaze.

Super organza, photoluminescent thread, PVDF, electronic devices.

  • Aaron

    Clearly Laura Mulvey still has work to do.

  • Sean

    It's too bad that the dresses are not appealing enough to attract anyone's gaze.