Social Fabrics: Wearable + Media + Interconnectivity

In the unspoken_series I use LED texts on the backs of orange safety vests worn by performers as a means of communication. The unstaged performances occur in public spaces like subways and gallery openings where public etiquette filters out individual feelings and interaction. The inspiration for the unspoken_series came from Chicago’s decision in late 2005 to change the crosswalk signals on Michigan Avenue from blinking red hands to numbers counting down. In the unspoken series I am questioning how this change can be a quick reference to pedestrians but also a means for an authority system to control the public’s brain, mind, and body. I used texts that provoke the private space between individuals who are otherwise adhering to social etiquette. In choosing the text, I explore issues specific to the particular city, the main target audience, and the suppressed emotions common in public spaces. In order to attract attention, I used vests similar to those worn by Chicago traffic officials and security personnel. To trigger suppressed emotions I altered expected phrases. "Traffic" was replaced with "Trapped," and "Security" was replaced with "Secrecy." unspoken_dallas_caa is a unique version of the piece designed for the audience at the 2008 College Art Association Annual Meeting.

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Updated 22 July 2009