using camera detectors, ying gao explores robotic clothing as ambiguous living portraits

using camera detectors, ying gao explores robotic clothing as ambiguous living portraits

in camera, a new robotic clothing collection by ying gao

 

Montreal-based fashion designer and professor Ying Gao returns with her latest mind-bending robotic clothing collection, this time exploring photographic ambiguity, blurred identities, and the public gaze. Titled In camera, the project features two pieces of garments equipped with camera lens detectors that come alive when a person photographs them. Nodding to British figurative artist Francis Bacon’s portraits, paintings created from photographs, these garments evoke hybrid and provisional entities. Their ambivalence is at the heart of the work whose name says it all: both private, behind closed doors (the literal translation of ‘In camera’), and public since they depend on the gaze of the viewer/photographer. The result is a pair of living portraits that echo the faces of strangers, partially hidden behind their phones or cameras, merging in a gallery of blurred identities that are both distinct and similar.

using camera detectors, ying gao explores robotic clothing as ambiguous living portraits
all images © Maude Arsenault

 

 

reviving the three dimensionality and substance of garments

 

Ying Gao (see more here) counteracts that ‘haziness’ by inviting the models to move and ruffle the In camera garments. Once their bodies activate the mesh and PVDF-infused textile, each clothing regains substance and presence, qualities that objects often lack in the context of overflowing images. This ‘drowned out’ impression can be traced back to the fashion industry, where clothing is constantly photographed and pasted onto the smoothed-out surfaces of magazines and screens, pushing the audience to no longer consider the full range of its dimensions. Too often flattened, even diminished by the image, In camera breathes new life into the garment by materializing its three-dimensionality and, by the same token, reflecting our own complexity.

using camera detectors, ying gao explores robotic clothing as ambiguous living portraits
Ying Gao presents her latest garment collection, In camera

 

 

My relationship to images has always been ambiguous. As a fashion designer, images are, of course, important to my work, yet they also tend to flatten everything and to become unfaithful, because easily and readily manipulated. To animate a garment is to contradict its instrumental status as passive prosthesis. The idea is to give voice to clothing objects, to emancipate them, to free them from a passivity they have not chosen,’ reflects the fashion designer. 

using camera detectors, ying gao explores robotic clothing as ambiguous living portraits
using camera detectors, the designer turns her garments into living portraits

using camera detectors, ying gao explores robotic clothing as ambiguous living portraits
the ambiguous clothing recalls British artist Francis Bacon’s portraits

using camera detectors, ying gao explores robotic clothing as ambiguous living portraits
close-up of the In camera clothing detail

using camera detectors, ying gao explores robotic clothing as ambiguous living portraits
Ying Gao counteracts the hazy nature of her designs through movement

 

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