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5.17.2010 16:32
Getting ready for the Anti/Surveillance Fashion Show (rehearsal)

This show is going to present the work of scores of different people from all over. We have scoured the net for examples of fashionable inventions meant to thwart or aid in surveillance. Everyone we’ve contacted is super-excited about the idea, and we’ve been getting the most amazing things in the mail! Today, we got a pair of mirrored underwear, designed to protect against upskirt photography. I haven’t seen them yet, but to judge from the emails coming out of headquarters, they’re very effective. Hopefully, I can take a photo at our rehearsal this evening… er… but the technology may thwart me. The TV suit is coming tonight, along with platform shoes designed to keep streetwalkers safe. —-Bzzzt! Both of those items are designed to increase -bzzzzt—– surveillance.

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5.17.2010 19:01

Watching prototypes come together for a presentation is so exciting! Problem-solving on the fly, fixing those last little things, and figuring out why the systems that worked perfectly in the workshop DON’T anymore… Last year, for Pandora’s Trunk storytime runway show, we had to sew a microphone into a dress five minutes before the show started, because the audio pickups weren’t loud enough on their own over the crowd noise. The TV suit is definitely my favorite from the Anti/Surveillance show, it’s kind of an unexpected way to execute the idea but sure to please the crowd. It was good for many smiles in the rehearsal! We spent some sewing time securing all the wires to the garment. I love it when needle and thread meet electrons! Trying the TV jacket onto smartypants model Meredith while she tries to show us how she pulled off an entirely unrelated electronics project — why yes we would like to include that as well! So many wires were a-flyin! Looking for an extra RCA adapter… or six. Female to Female?? The TV signal is shielded black and white, so you can get away with murder.

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Putting together a fashion show is an exercise in imagination. Without all the bodies in a room, it’s just a few little boxes with wires poking over the top. At NoiseBridge, even with everyone in the room, it just looks like a group of geeks sitting around. It takes an act of supreme imagination to co-ordinate all these little bits together into a presentation set to wow the socks off a crowd who’s had their eyeballs stuffed with science and mayhem all weekend. A lot of these projects aren’t exactly garments, either — lots of accessories, additions to your own wardrobe. Belts that can help you think or move, shoes that you can use covertly to communicate, or to send an alarm. Constantly under the lens of the camera, fashion is a natural form in which to explore the relationship between surveillance and culture. How are we watched? How do we watch? How do we present ourselves to the eyes of the world?

Rachel’s links:

Medium Reality <http://mediumreality.com>
Sustainable as hell menswear made from recycled materials.
Check out where you can buy some! <http://mediumreality.com/retail.html>

I also keep a design/production log <http://mediumreality.blogspot.com>
with behind-the-scenes details.

Pandora’s Trunk <http://pandorastrunk.com>

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The Road to Maker Faire: beatseqr
The Road to Maker Faire: Greetings Earthlings!
The Road to Maker Faire: TinyMeat preps for Maker Faire


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