Invisible Essential 

As a work in progress, the interactive fabric will react to heart rate conditions in augmented reality.

This project explores the boundaries between machines and an or

ganism in the form of the human body
in an attempt to answer the question: Is it possible to describe fashion technology as a cyborg? Invisible Essential is a project that is testing the possibility of future wearable technology. By stitching sensors onto fabrics, the designers not only create an aesthetic value but also a functional circuit. I am imagining the future when e-textiles merge into the fashion industry. We should ask ourselves if the wearables that we are creating now is pioneering the idea of a cyborg.

: Exhibit at Telepresence

From the speculative aspect regarding the augmentative possibilities of wearable technology, this paper mainly focuses on the added value of future e-textiles by analyzing the current prototypes within the industry.

In Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late 20th Century, Haraway redefined the boundaries between body, self, and uniqueness. After reading her thoughts on how technology deforms, deconstructs and becomes an extension of our body, the concept of augmentation in the fashion industry could be both add on and take away as long as it reaches the idea of increasing the functionality or aesthetic value. For instance, the typical example of fashion technology is glasses. In this sense, augmentation is only seen under the circumstance of functionality and aesthetic value. The term argument should not be described as physically enhancing or extending the value, but it should be interpreted as the process of becoming a better version of self.

Augmentation, Technology, and Cyborg

The refined understanding of augmentation led me to relate its definition to technology. Technology is a platform, a way, and a medium for people to deliver what they think. It is a way for people to convey their ideas from their mind and transfer any feelings that they could not describe. It could also be a tool and a method that solves the situation humans are facing. We can relate these two terms in that technology is the way humans augment.

According to Donna Haraway, “A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.” This definition gives a rough but clear explanation of what a cyborg is. When the boundaries and borders of the human body have become unclear and merge to each other, we will be able to consider the future of wearable fashion as a cyborg production. Memory could be considered as a recent example of breaking down the boundaries between organism and machine. Nowadays we are using cellphones to document and record our daily activities. The phone starts to become an extension of our human brain and more. The structure of our consciousness has changed based on the new technological development that does not require our brain to function as before. We can say that the use of recent technology has already made human beings cyborgs. It should be obvious enough to say, in order to live in the world society cannot function without machinery.

To Be Continued

By making and testing my own e-textile, I got a sense of how exciting it was to combine physical computing and fashion textiles. It was easy to see the future possibility of augmenting human lives. I can imagine the concept of being a cyborg will be the main trend in the near future. Recent fashion technologies can already be considered a cyborg in a sense. Based on the idea of augmentation, the human race lacks functionality and in turn people are eager to become better. We will not be satisfied with just being an organism without the added value of machinery. When the futuristic technology is fully functional and well-developed, the fashion industry will become the pioneer to explore the new area of how to become a cyborg.