‘Can’t’ and ‘Won’t’ are the names of these two interactive dresses by Ying Gao. The dresses, made of Super organza, cotton mesh, PVDF and electronic devices, react to human presence with slowly pulsating movements. Layers of fabric begin to oscillate, seeming to breathe and gently twitch. Once set in motion, a facial recognition system picks up any signs of emotion in the onlooker, and the dresses stop moving. These kinetic garments require completely passive viewers to reveal themselves to; in other words, their interactivity requires non-interaction, something which the artist says is ‘out of synch with today’s over-expressiveness’.
In another work, ‘Incertitudes’, two dresses are adorned with outward facing dress-makers pins which respond to participant’s voices. The ‘conversation’ between the garment and participant is full of uncertainties and misunderstandings. Two other dresses (NO)WHERE (NOW)HERE, instead of being activated by voice, are set in motion with the help of imbedded eye tracking technology, and their luminescent threads are set in motion by the spectator’s gaze
Playtime is another of Gao’s interactive works, but this time the two dresses react to cameras – avoiding being recorded. The first dress, a hazy mesh of moving organza, will appear blurry when photographed, and the second dress reacts to the flash of a camera, its own light source reflecting back at it.