Wearing Stories Told: Soft Wearable Tech for Storytelling and Performance

Love Letters, performance installation, participatory art project and crowd-sourced archive of letters, by Yiota Demetriou (2012 -) Image by Paul Blakemore © Watershed

In collaboration with Electronics/Signals Engineer Odysseas Pappas and Composer/Sonic Artist Stathis Kampylis, the Love Letters dress was redeveloped into a freestanding interactive sound installation, which was augmented with recordings of the letters from the existing collection, enabling recordings and narratives.

Audience members are invited to follow the initial process of writing a letter and to engage with the dress and the performer by reading another letter from the collection and pinning it to the dress. The audience’s engagement with the dress triggers a reaction where the dress narrates another story from the love letters collection.

In this way, the dress becomes a storytelling object and facilitates a two-way exchange of personal testimony: the garment becomes a listener/witness to the story being told by the audience member, but it also becomes the storyteller. Simultaneously, this shift of roles also happens to the audience members.

The audiences’ engagement in the work was active even before augmenting technologies onto the dress, as the content was ‘user-generated’. However, by technologizing the performance beyond the initial process, the approach is taken further in actively involving them in the conceptual, ‘dramaturgical’ and developmental structure behind our work.

 

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