What You Staring At? Ying Gao's Gaze-Activated Dresses

The more someone stares at them, the more Ying Gao's interactive dresses start shifting and stirring.

Other than the occasional blink, the two models in the video above don't move. Their quiet stillness is the perfect contrast to their dresses, which rustle mysteriously as if blown by a subtle wind. Made of photoluminescent thread and embedded with eye-tracking technology, these dresses are activated by the human gaze. The more you stare the more the dresses shift and stir.

Inspired by Paul Virilio's essay Esthétique de la disparition (The Aesthetic of Disappearance), the dresses were created by designer Ying Gao and are part of a new series (No)where (Now)here which explores the idea of absence. Only when the spectator is present do the dresses move. We are faced with a new kind of fashion—wearable technology that demands not only a model but also an audience. And an awe-struck audience no doubt, as Gao's dresses seem to exceed the possible.

The dresses will be on display at the Power Station of Art, Shanghai's new museum of contemporary art, in November 2013 and at the Textile Museum of Canada in the Spring of 2014.

Photos: Dominique Lafond