Fashioning Circuits: Emerging Media and Fashion

In Fall 2011, the Dallas Museum of Art will open an exhibition entitled, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.

Gaultier Dress

Gaultier’s career intersects with various media forms – film, television, music video, etc. Drawing inspiration from the above dress, which evokes imagery of circuitry, I would like to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to explore the ways in which fashion and emerging media intersect. Areas of intersection might include the ways in which fashion and emerging media are constantly in flux, looking forward; the fashions of emerging media, including social media and hardware; expressions of identity; wearable media; vernacular expression; network theories; global labor issues; gender representation, sexuality, and embodiment; etc.

I have put out a call to my colleagues in Arts and Humanities to see if anyone is interested in coordinating for an interdisciplinary perspective, so some of the following plans could change.

Rough sketch of plans for the class:

  • We will look at fashion from the context of feminism, globalization, and emerging media.
  • We will meet every 2 weeks. Students will take turns leading discussion.
  • There will be a regular blogging requirement.
  • Students are expected to produce an intellectually rigorous final paper or media project.
  • We will coordinate a group visit to the Gaultier exhibit at the DMA.
  • There will be a workshop in wearable media in which we create a piece of wearable media. There may be some materials costs associated with this and you need to be wiling to try your hand at soldering, etc.

Possible texts for reading/viewing include:

  • Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth
  • Oxford UP’s Fashion: A Very Short Introduction
  • Linda M. Scott, Fresh lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism
  • Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style
  • Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle
  • John Berger, Ways of Seeing
  • Elisabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies
  • Roland Barthes, The Fashion System
  • R.J. Cutler, dir. The September Issue
  • Margaret Lazarus, dir. Killing Us Softly
  • Malcolm Barnard, Fashion as Communication
  • Bradley Quinn, Techno Fashion
  • Sabine Seymour, Fashionable Technology: The Intersection of Design, Fashion, Science and Technology
  • Jeanette Kennett and Jessica Wolfendale, eds., Fashion: Philosophy for Everyone: Thinking with Style

If you are interested in participating, send me a request to enroll in an Independent Study from your UTD address. I am willing to take up to 10 students.

Grad students, don’t forget that you can only take six hours of Independent Study work toward your degree and that those courses count as part of your prescribed electives! If you want to enroll for fewer than 3 credits, we can work out a lighter assignment load. Though be advised that if you enroll for less than 3 credits and expect to apply it to your degree plan, you are unlikely to find any courses for 1 or 2 credits that will fill in the gap in those required hours.

(N.B. Given the topic of this study, students may be tempted to view it as a “fluff” course. This is not the case. We will read challenging theoretical texts and you will be expected to approach the topic with academic rigor. You are additionally expected to potentially work outside your comfort zone in the wearable media workshop. We will approach the workshop from a beginner’s electronics starting point, but you are expected to be willing to fail and learn in this area.)

One thought on “Fashioning Circuits: Emerging Media and Fashion

  1. Pingback: Fashioning Circuits: Emerging Media and Fashion « The Spiral Dance