RMIT University, Australia
The aesthetics of data for IoT wearables
The Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem proposes a seamless connection of the digital-physical, increasing the scope of networked entities that produce and exchange data. An emerging landscape of contemporary networked fashion urges us to consider what it means for clothes to be interconnected with other entities, in an enmeshed ecology, in contrast to just being worn. Design approaches to wearable technology (wearables) span a broad spectrum. However, the impact, evolution and direction of IoT interconnected wearables has not received enough attention. Functional and imaginative applications for fashion and textiles have begun to explore the connective potential of dynamic interfaces for IoT compliant systems. Collectively, these works indicate a need to understand how computational material contributes to aesthetic expression and plays a critical role in articulating empowered data transactions from a fashion perspective.
This paper describes an IoT connected dress, used to broaden the design inquiry of big data information visualisation for wearables, according to aesthetic criteria of haute couture. Electronics and cloud computing wirelessly transform time series data into visual and kinetic expression on the garment. Textile behavioural characteristics are foregrounded to design a specific aesthetic interaction with remotely sourced, quantified weather phenomena. The author examines material cultures that blend digital technologies with the creation of highly refined artefacts, such as new materialism. In the context of dynamic performativity, materials and time series data engage temporal movement and state-change structures. Moreover, the performativity inherent in this framework can be useful to support an analysis of rich making and socio-cultural display practices derived from fashion couture for wearables design.