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Accepted Paper:

Living dresses: transforming the body through biotechnological practices  
Helena Fernández-Nóvoa (Universidade de Vigo)

Paper short abstract:

Biotechnological Fashion is changing our perspectives upon the body and the self. By analyzing three creative projects, we would like to think about the transformations upon the concepts of dress, body, and environment with the aid of some new philosophical and biological approaches.

Paper long abstract:

Wearable technology and novel materials are changing our interpretations of the body and the self by presenting them not only as imaginery, but also as abstract data visualisations. In between all these new approaches that are being brought into Fashion, we perceive a proliferation of certain biotechnological practices that might hint those perspectives.

We would like to examine those practices from Timothy Morton´s ecological thought. This author conceives that all forms of life are interconnected, in a vast mesh that penetrates all dimensions. We would also like to take into account Maturana and Varela´s approach to the appreciation of the living through their Santiago´s Theory of Cognition. It understands living systems as cognition systems, describing cognition as the very process of life itself. Thus, human beings are defined as agents constructing the world, not as agents discovering it. These perspectives blur the boundaries between our bodies and the environment. By adopting this standpoint, we hope to explore dress as a permeable membrane that beclouds the oppositions between humans and animals, between the natural and the artificial, between the self and its surroundings.

Projects such as 9/4/1615 (Maison Martin Margiela, 1997), Victimless Leather (The Tissue Culture Art Project, 2004), and Pure Human (Tina Gorjanc, 2106) explore all these new perceptions of the human and the world around us through dress and biotechnology. This paper aims to examine this paradigm shift by exploring these three creative projects, correlating the new concepts to the practices of fashion design.

Panel Body03
Fashion fast forward: transforming body, fabric and media in a changing world [P+R]
  Session 1 Monday 15 April, 2019, -