Accepted Paper:

Fashion Design in the age of Posthuman Ecologies  


Patricia Wu Wu (Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh)

Paper short abstract:

If the emergence of the concept of posthuman implies an epistemological shift in design, how might this transform the way we think about fashion design and the body? What forms of material aesthetics and practices are envisioned during the process?

Paper long abstract:

Marked by the increasing ecological and technological crisis within the generation of the Anthropocene, the role of design is experiencing an epistemological stir. Challenged by new notions of aesthetic sensibilities rendered in the emerging advances of bio, nano, digital and robotics; the word human is confronted by its subsequent connotation of post-human.

No longer is the body dressed to be protected, but instead the dressing of the body has become a surgical act. Mediated by sensory augmentations and prosthetic accessories to enhance human physiology. In the midst of these contingent uncertainties, fashion design can be viewed as a heterogenous prism. A site of speculative probes in response to the dynamic changes that effect the body.

Propelled by this speculative inquiry, this paper proposes creative research through a hybrid fashion design practice. Composed of artifactual making which integrates physical, digital and biological actants through iteration and experimentation. While the textual reflection will contribute to new ways of thinking and making within the field of Design Anthropology. Incorporating an assemblage of processual methods, i.e. surgically designing, constructing, dissecting and (de)composing together — a network of vibrant material agencies. By exploring the different ways though which we can convey, the complex symbiosis of the dynamic and unpredictable world of matter. To imagine an embodied otherness, through the lens of non-human eye as a post-anthropological way of designing. This aims to open up new streams of design speculation, creative imaginaries and forms of aesthetic expressions that are conditioning the futurology of the body.

Panel P062
Design Anthropology: Uniting experience and imagination in the midst of social and material transformation