fashion net

I loved reading this article in New York Magazine’s LOOK issue discussing a commentary written by the NYTimes‘ fashion critic Cathryn Horyn who is bothered by the idea that in this day and age of instant information flow runway shows are still being produced for the eyes of select few. 

“Why not let the Internet’s instantaneousness be a virtue, a good new business practice? Why can’t editors, retailers, and critics watch the shows on their own time, from the comfort of their Wi-Fi-enabled couches? End the celebrity scrum, the painfully long waits, the jet lag, and the excessive carbon footprint.”

Although NY Mag’s writer Janet Ozzard agrees with Horyn’s approach to democratizing fashion through instant online access, she still would like to hold on to the magic of being part of the excitement.

And who can blame her? Just imagine witnessing Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel mary-go-round runway show in person as opposed to seeing it online:

Or seeing the giant Chanel jacket set with your own eyes  (and feeling totally dwarfed and insignificant):

And if fashion shows were to move to the internet, would designers be motivated to produce grand-scale productions such as this?

Caption for photo below from New York Look: In Person: Alexander McQueen’s fall show, left, was a spine-tingler for the few hundred who saw it live. On Screen: Hussein Chalayan’s elegant spring-summer video, right, is there for anyone sitting in front of a computer. (Photo: Chris Moore/Catwalking/Getty Images)

bedtime story

When was the last time you fell asleep to a bedtime story? Though it’s been ages for me, I still can hear my grandpa’s warm and gentle voice reading Mongolian fairy tales and lulling me to sleep.

For all those wanting to regress back to that cozy place, artist Susana Mendes Silva offered a bedtime story read through SKYPE (an internet phone service). Her performance piece required the following: participants sent her an email with date, time and if they wanted to hear their story in English or Portuguese. At the time of story-telling, participants were instructed to listen via skype headphones hooked up to their computer, in the dark and preferably in bed. The artist would then read the story for up to 30 minutes. 

What’s amazing about this concept is the amount of trust required to take place between listeners and the artist. Although technology offers complete anonymity and distance during this performance, by allowing a stranger into an intimate moment listeners are placing themselves into a vulnerable state–fully trusting that nothing shady can ever happen. 

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wear me out

Here’s another example of wearable technology which interacts with human body and surrounding environment. Just like the Smart Second Skin Dress, these dresses are made from high tech materials enabling sensory interaction and prediction of the wearer’s emotional state. This project is designed as part of Phillips’ initiative, Design Probes, which is dedicated “‘to track[ing] trends and developments that may ultimately evolve into mainstream issues that have a significant impact on business.” Though I find the idea of wearable technology interesting, I have to admit that what I’ve seen so far seems impractical and gimmicky. But then again, wearing this ridiculously impractical speaker vest can either make you the life of the dance floor or the butt of all jokes…

Don’t wear this at your wedding if you’re having doubts–everyone will know.

yamaha me crazy

When I was 12 years old, I saw a performance by Japanese wunderkinds who were students at the Yamaha Music School and were on a tour in Ulaanbaatar. I watched the show with an open-mouthed awe; I had nothing on these kids with my one-fingered rendition of “Chopsticks.” Since then, I never dared to touch a piano, but developed a deep respect for Yamaha’s commitment to foster musical creativity. (If you think I’m exaggerating these kids’ abilities, let this 3-year old put your musical skills to shame.)

Which brings me to the point of this post. Yamaha’s new digital musical instrument, TENORI-ON, was launched this spring, and it’s totally awesome. Designed by media artist Toshio Iwai, this touch screen instrument has 16×16 matrix of LED switches, which visualize musical gestures. “Intuitive design” may be an overused phrase these days; but in this case, TENORI-ON is totally on to something with its visual and intutive interpretation of music-making. 

Read PingMag’s interview with TENORI-ON’s developer Yu Nishibori here.

music vision

Thanks to Create Digital Music (a forum for musicians using technology), I stumbled upon something called “audio responsive visual” where music is interpreted through programming language, or what is also known Processing. In this video, artist/designer/programmer Robert Hodgin’s (Flight404) visualizes “Lovely Head” a song by British group Goldfrapp. You’ll see that his interpretive code not only accentuates the song’s beat, pitch and loudness but also incorporates its lyrics–apparently, a challenging task to achieve in Processing. Don’t know about you, but I couldn’t stop watching this mesmerizing piece…