Precedent Research 1 : Michelle Murray 1/20/22

I was particularly drawn to the robotic clothing project titled “FLOWING WATER, STANDING TIME” by Ying Gao.

 Ying Gao is a Montreal-based designer who questions the assumptions about clothing by bringing together fashion design, product design, and media design in all of her pieces. By exploring the transformations that exist in our social and urban environment, Ying is able to challenge what it means to be an individual through sensory technologies based in the realm of textile design. 

Inspired by the experiences of neurologist and NYU professor Oliver Sacks’s M.D. patients, FLOWING WATER, STANDING TIME reflects a story in a way that her garments are in a constant state of alteration. Built using silicone, glass, PVDF, and electronic devices, the garments are capable of adjusting their shape in reaction to the chromatic spectrum. It is able to react to what it sees and recognize the colors in its immediate surroundings. 

FLOWING WATER, STANDING TIME is a unique and creative interpretation of the fluctuation of life and reminds us how easy it is for us to alter our experiences within the present time. 

I believe there are many useful and desirable applications of this type of kinetic design project. I really like how Ying Gao’s work is deeply rooted and connected to science, in particular neurological disorders. The reflection of life struggling against adversity allows the viewer to imagine what it must be like to live and feel as these patients do. I also like how Gao’s garments appear at first glance to be inherently futuristic, but with further understanding, FLOWING WATER, STANDING TIME is rather a reflection of the immediate present. The garments are in a continuous state of flux, mimicking the ever-changing nature of the world around us and all the uncertainties that come along with it. Future applications of Gao’s work could be potentially be applied to challenge the way we all exist and interact within society. This type of robotic clothing can be used to express our feelings and can help to portray them out to the world. Ying Gao has a whole collection of garments that aim to challenge the viewer, and are inspired by science.

Related Work:

Photodiodes embedded within electronic textiles

Other sources: