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The data dress

x.pose from Xuedi Chen on Vimeo.

Many of us remain clueless about the data we unwittingly generate online. But what if your clothes were to alert you to how digitally exposed you are, by literally exposing you? That is the concept behind designer Xuedi Chen’s ‘x.pose’ project.

“In the digital realm, we are naked and vulnerable,” she says. “X.pose is a wearable, data-driven sculpture that changes opacity to expose a person’s skin as a real time reflection of the data that the wearer is producing.”

The dress panels are made from an electrochromic film, which is mainly used in privacy glass, and are held together with a 3D printed, spider web-like frame which protects the wearer’s modesty. If the wearer is in a busy, urban area, then the panels will come to life, showing just how much metadata the person’s smartphone is producing.

“By participating in this hyper-connected society while having little to no control of my digital data production, how much of myself do I unknowingly reveal?” Chen asks. “To what degree does the aggregated metadata collected from me paint an accurate portrait of who I am as a person? What aspects of my individuality are reflected in this portrait? X.pose is my exploration of these questions. Since I have already ceded control of my data, I wanted to go a step further and broadcast it for anyone and everyone to see.”

This isn’t the first time somebody has incorporated the theme of digital identity into their apparel. This month, computer science professor Lorrie Faith Cranor designed a dress made from fabric printed with an array of weak password choices. Back in 2012, singer and X Factor judge Nicole Sherzinger attended the 4G launch wearing a gown adorned with 2,000 LEDs which broadcasted incoming @EE tweets in real time.

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