RICARDO O’NASCIMENTO [NL/BR] + ANBASJA BLANKEN [NL] “PAPARAZZI LOVER” (2012)
“PAPARAZZI LOVER” is a reactive dress that responds to the flash of a camera. When the camera light goes off, the dress responds by flashing the photographer back with its 61 embedded lights. In an age where technologies increasingly stand in for who we are in the world (think of your Facebook, LinkedIn, Academia, Pinterest profiles) “PAPARAZZI LOVER” is a tongue-in-cheek response to our mired relationship with these representational technologies and their ability to “speak” or “respond” for us. Where Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame has now been replace by a 15 second slice of fame accessible to all through social medias, “PAPARAZZI LOVER” reminds us of the fleeting nature of this pursuit of fame in the digital era.
“TAIKNAM HAT” is a wide-brimmed retro-Victorian inspired hat made entirely of black bird feathers. Indistinguishable from other decorative, and likely exotic hats one might encounter, it playfully displays the wearer’s immediate electromagnetic field by raising its feathers up in the air when ambient readings increase. O’Nascimento and Kurbak’s work seeks to emulate the psycho-physical phenomenon of horripilation—the act of getting goose bumps when one gets physically aroused either by excitement or stress—by displaying the hidden dimension of radiation pollutants, which we otherwise are somatically oblivious to.
DJANGO STEENBAKKER [NL] + RICARDO O’NASCIMENTO [NL/BR] “UNTANGLE ME (2012)
Arguably the most popular work in the exhibition (based on exhibition visitor feedback) the “UNTANGLE ME” dress is a playful twist on the fur garment come alive. The design is part of a rich history of uncanny uses of hair in fashion, from the iconic fur cup and gloves of Swiss Surrealist Meret Oppenheim, to Niki de Saint Phalle’s “Fur Suit” (1965), Charlie le Mindu’s “The Red Wall” purple hair head dress (2009/10), to Bless’ “Hairbrush” (2003) made with bristles of human hair. “UNTANGLE ME” is designed as part cocktail dress, and part dancing hula dress. It invites the viewer to pick up a brush to untangle it, resulting in an impromptu automaton-like hip dance of its skirt. It is a playful, and fittingly uncanny, in the manner that lively, gyrating, and misplaced hairs always are.
Q: What is your background?
I graduated in International Affairs and Social Sciences from PUC-SP and University of São Paulo. I also hold a Master in Art from the Interface Culture Department at Kunstuniversität in Linz, Austria.
Q: What led you to your being involved in fashion and technology?
During my Master I became excited by the possibilities created by wearable technology. I am interested in the relations between body, society, and environment; and fashion appeared naturally in my research.
Q: What kinds of materials and technologies are used and integrated into your designs? Could you describe the process / challenges / advantages of using these particular materials in fashion and garments?
With my works I aim to create experiences for the user, and for that I use different technologies depending on the project. I use microcontrollers, electronic circuits, sensors, etc. Nowadays, electronics are so small that they can be efficiently integrated into clothes. I normally start from a concept, and try to develop technologies from that idea. The challenge for me is to be able to communicate something in a clear and interesting way. The idea of creating behaviors for objets is something that amazes me.
Q: What does technology add to fashion?
Technology adds another layer of interpretation, and use in fashion. The clothes start to think, and to display our emotions.
Q: If you could have anyone alive or dead wearing your fashion-tech design, whom would you pick, and where would they be?
I have never created something thinking of one specific person. My goal is to create an experience for the person who wears it, and for the people around. The wearer could be anyone. But to be honest, I would feel honored if Björk wore something I had made.
Q: How do you envision the everyday fashion-tech of the future?
I envision a more efficient, and ubiquitous integration of our gadgets (cellphones, for instance), and clothes.
Q: Tell us about the piece you developed at Quartier21 during your Artist-in-Residency.
During my residency I developed a dress that lights up when being photographed by a flash activated camera. It is a comment on the contradictory love and hate relationship that celebrities usually have with paparazzi. It is called “PAPARAZZI LOVER,” and the fashion designer I collaborated with is a talented young designer that Anouk [Wipprecht] introduced me to, Anbaja Blanken.
Vienna, August 2012
Credits: Paparazzi Lover: Photographer: Peter Grillmair; Makeup and Hair: Barbara Kretschmar; Model: Liza / motheragency.at and Sandi / PH Model. Taiknam Hat: Photographer: Ricaordo O’Nascimento; Model: Fabiana Shizue.