Hyperdressing: Wearable Technology in the Time of Global Warming

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Climate Change

Presentation Title:

  • Hyperdressing: Wearable Technology in the Time of Global Warming

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • (Long paper)

    Keywords: Biometrics, Body, Dressing, Environment, Fashion, Hyperobjects, Quantified Self, Wearable Technology, Ubiquitous Computing

    “Hyperdressing” is inspired by the writings of Timothy Morton and his concepts hyperobjects and ecological thought. This paper views the evolution of wearable technologies in terms of both dressing and environmental awareness. Historically, dressing has always been bound up with technology. Ideas, behaviors, and materials come together on our bodies so as to administer to our human condition. Since the rise of capitalism, the dominant paradigm for dressing has been fashion. And fashion is one of the premises driving current wearable technology trends. The others are ubiquitous computing, affective computing, our innate yearning for perfection, and the Quantified Self. Sleek products like Google Glass offer both style and enhancement: a framing of reality as expanding information brought under our control and tailored to our wants. But the paper describes an alternative view of wearable technology that presumes a world increasingly beyond our control. As technology changes, dressing now undergoes a slow, steady disruption—a transformation from the fashion paradigm that serves individual self or self-identity, to a next phase. Will future dressing accessorize a Quantified Self based in biometric devices that accelerate environmental waste? Or might we dress for greater intimacy and openness amid overpowering natural forces and hyperobjects?

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