The idea for developing a series of brain dresses came out of a poem I wrote about a woman who wears her brain outside her skull, hovering above her as she walks home from a party. I decided to design a dress that would have the folds and undulations, (gyri and sulci), of the brain. In my research for this project I discovered a case in medical history in which a fourteen year old girl had one vivid memory during a seizure. When the physician, (Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield), operated on her brain, he found that stimulating different areas of the brain brought back fragments of the memory, and prolonged stimulation caused the memory to flow in a narrative form. Reading about this case fed my desire to create a series of interfaces for memories and fantasies based on the model of the brain dress.
Dress A: The first dress is designed to hint at the mutiplicity of female expression which is often supressed in everyday life. Daisy Comfit is a hydra, multi-faceted and muti-faced. She is allowed the full spectrum of expression, without being told she is mad. This dress is an image map with eight corresponding animations.
Dress B: This second dress I've constructed is linked to photographs and memories from my childhood in Saskatchewan. I used photographs from my father's collection and my own text. This piece expresses sadness for the lost of a utopian world from my past.
There are fifteen pages of this dress, and each dress reveals different images and text as you scroll over them. These files are quite large, so it will be difficult to view them if you have a slow modem.
The Sculptured Dress: I'm in the process of creating a three-dimensional version of the brain dress which I can wear. It will be the interface for an interactive video installation with a performative element. The interface of the memories is a velvet dress with surface folds that mimic the undulations and contours of the brain. When the viewer touches the folds of the dress, a memory is evoked on the monitor/projection screen. I will react to the video and sound elements with sung and spoken text