time periodSeptember 2010 - October 2010
What does fashion lack? "Microcontrollers" according to Dutch based fashiontech designer and innovator Anouk Wipprecht. As she is working in the emerging field of “fashionable technology”; a rare combination of fashion design combined with engineering, science and interaction/user experience design, she created an impressive body of tech-enhanced designs bringing together fashion and technology in an unusual way. She creates technological couture; with systems around the body that tend towards artificial intelligence; projected as 'host' systems on the human body, her designs move, breath, and react to the environment around them.
Part futuristic, part anime-meets-high fashion, her aesthetics are set apart from more utilitarian wearables (which are all about function) and can be considered artistic creations in themselves. Many of her designs have been exhibited in exhibitions as well as fashion events. In Anouk's designs the technology creates the aesthetics as opposed to simply enhancing a function which is hidden. Keen on showing the nuts and bolts of the garments (often the valves and mechanisms are displayed on the outside) we witness the designs creating their own unique forms of interaction, movement and meaning.
She seeks to create a 'higher connectivity of the senses through the medium of clothing” by investigating the extent to which we experience fashion (emotionally, intellectual and sensual levels) by projecting technology as an extension or prosthetic of the body. Investigating the extent to which we experience fashion (emotionally, intellectual, and sensually) both from a physical as well as psychological angle, Wipprecht’s designs responds to us, while also affecting our sartorial experiences. Producing garments which aim at more than just the traditional function of coverage and adornment, Anouk’s techno-fashions are one-of-a-kind, architectural, avant-garde statements with bold silhouettes, vested with circuitry and a regalia of plastic tubes, fluids,smart foils and the ability to respond in an unique and remarkable way to the human body and his or her surroundings.
“We shaped technology, and from that point on technology shaped us; it defines who we are as persons. I started experimenting with this some more; what if, other that building robots to help us, we would create host systems on the body that work as molded robotic structures? Technology should become more fragile and second-skin like than bulky and robotic. I like to think in ways of embryonic, organic and symbiosis. By placing technology on the body, it becomes an extension of ourselves while working as a pretty intimate human-interface systems and connecting to others in ways of expression, communication or defense/protection. Basically everything that fashion does, only this time more personalized and customized - 'Fashion 2.0' you can call it. While fashion and technology give an added value to each other; they co operate as an symbiotic organism.”
As science fiction author J.C Ballard once said; “Fashion is the recognition that nature has endowed us with one skin too few, and that a fully sentient [ability to feel or perceive] being should wear its nervous system externally” - we need to redesign THAT skin.” as mentioned by her.
Wipprecht is artist, designer, curator and lecturer (Netherlands, China, Austria) in electronic couture, worked for names as the Black Eyed Peas, SuperBowl 2011, Eurovision 2012, with work featured in international magazines. She is the brainchild and curator of the TECHNOSENSUAL 'Where Fashion meets Technology' exhibition that took place at MQ/quartier21, with attached Artist in Residency program run by Quartier21 to stimulate the grow of fashiontech projects coupling fashion designers and engineers together, that took place in Vienna/Austria over the summer of 2012. She exhibition recently released the TECHNOSENSUAL exhibition catalog in collaboration with partner monochrom (AT) which gives a glimpse in the background concept and structure of the exhibition as well as representing featured artists participating in the exhibition.
She is currently based in Vienna/Austria, and travels between Amsterdam (NL) Los Angeles (USA) San Francisco (USA) and Montreal (CA).
In October 2010 I collaborated with Jane Tingley, also an Artist-in-Residence of quartier21 (monochrom), on the 'cocktailmaking robot dress' - named DAREDROID for RoboExotica 2010.
"The heartbeat dress was developed during Anouk's artist in residency for quartier21 / MQ Vienna Fashion Week and was made in collaboration with Stock Interfaces / V2 labs"