In FestiveNESS 17 we explore innovative fashion. These garments designed by Ying Gao react to what they see by responding to chromatic data. At the same time, they are symbols of what they can potentially become. Inspired by neurologist Oliver Sacks’s novel, The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, the project questions temporality and movement. The chameleon-like adaption of the clothing highlights one of the important factors of the digital in relation to the object: how can our designs respond to a dynamic, often asynchronous, fluidity?
Flowing Water, Standing Time by Ying Gao
In The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, Sacks tells the story of Jimmie G, a 49-year-old former sailor convinced that he is 19 years old since he left the Navy. Shocked by his own reflection in the mirror, Jimmie reverts to his 19-year-old self as soon as his gaze leaves the reflective surface. Having lost any sense of temporal continuity, Jimmie lives as a prisoner to this single, perpetual moment, oscillating between a presence with the world and a presence with self.
Much like Jimmie G, the garments evolve between two states and display a perpetual metamorphosis as they react to the chromatic spectrum. This traveling between opposite states—from immobility to movement—does not operate as a dichotomy in the project. Upon the field of time fluctuates an intensity that animates each garment in its unique way. These two states are mere dropping-off points among an infinite array of possibilities.
Ying Gao is a Montreal based fashion designer, professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal, and former head of the Fashion, Jewelry, and Accessory Design Programme at HEAD-Genève. Ying Gao has achieved personal distinction through her numerous creative projects: six solo exhibitions in France, in Switzerland, in Canada, and more than one hundred group exhibitions around the world. Her varied creative work has enjoyed international media coverage: Time, Vogue, The New York Times, Dezeen, Dazed and Confused, Interni, ARTE.
PREMIERE DATE: House of Electronic Arts Basel Switzerland from Jan.16 to March 8, 2020 – Making Fashion Sense / MATERIALS: silicone, glass, organza, electronic devices