Body Graffiti: Expressive Wearable Art Through Bodily Performance


Session Title:

  • Wearable Technologies

Presentation Title:

  • Body Graffiti: Expressive Wearable Art Through Bodily Performance




  • Like many fine artists, modern & experimental dancers in the age of digital media have been early adopters of wearable technology. It seems obvious as the wearable itself can be an expressive media platform and at the same time, worn by a performer during performance, it elevates expression of body language as creating a stronger media platform combining two forms of media that have been so close to art and technology -wearable and performance.
    This paper introduces a performance wearable project, ‘Body Graffiti’, a performance art wearable project that uses the illusion of persistence of vision (POV) to create ephemeral graffiti via body movement. As dancers (in this particular performance—break dancers) perform head spins, windmills and flares, messages programmed into the custom designed LED POV system are displayed. At the moment, the Body Graffiti prototype version 1.0 has been completed and performed with a B-boy team, “Last For One” during HCI Party Event in 2010.

    The B-boy dancers wore the Body Graffiti system embedded in vests and leg shields, to express visual graffiti drawn with their body movements in the air. Body Graffiti uses a custom designed LED POV(Persistence of Vision) system which can be reprogrammed to express different messages whether it’s text or graffiti. LEDs and electric circuits are seamlessly integrated in wearable items therefore, dancers can move freely to express the message. The Body Graffiti with the B-boy performance has been on-going collaborative project since wearable has to be designed according to dancers’ speed and angle of movements; rotation such as head-spin in this case, and graphic and textual message we liked to convey. Body Graffiti is still in progress as it is being upgraded with more defined custom circuit board design with higher LED pixels to express more detailed graffiti graphics and fragmented sewable PCBs to be conducted with flexible electronic materials for better wearability.

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