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Accepted paper:

Wearing pixels : Design anthropological exploration of the possible futures of digital self-expression

Author:

Yoonha Kim (Humboldt University of Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

Anthropological intervention plays a significant role in developing the interdisciplinary digital fashion project, 'Wearing Pixels'. Participants from diverse backgrounds create multiple futures of self-expression through their everyday action, complicating the current profit driven fashion system.

Paper long abstract:

This paper introduces a future-oriented form of anthropology through designers and engineers based in Berlin, Amsterdam and Prague, actively building the digital fashion scene. Augmented reality and digital design software allow new ways of altering visual identities, such as pixels floating around the body. The actual technology to wear digital garments in daily life has not yet reached the consumer level. However, its potentials can offer alternative types of garments that can tackle environmental and ethical problems the current fashion industry generates. Multi-sited fieldwork at designers studios and tech meetups where these latent digital tools are explored, led to bridging different fields through a regular design workshop, <Wearing Pixels>. Since 2017, this workshop has been a place for a collaborative future making process. During the last three years, participants pre-felt garments from the near future through a meditation session, discussed and prototyped particular imaginations, wrote a mixed-reality fashion manifesto, and developed new terms to describe the not-yet-known concept of wearing pixels. I aim to present desires and abilities of actual practitioners, their frustrations due to the lag of technology, how different visions and circumstances collided, intertwined and eventually practiced diverse future scenarios. The anthropological research was not focused on predetermining the future, but seeing the possibilities of how technology can be used through listening to a wider range of present actions and corresponding accordingly.

panel P026
Futures Anthropology as Interventional Theory and Practice [Future Anthropologies Network]