Re/connect : an interdisciplinary exploration of wearable technology in devised theatre



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How can theatrical costumes help develop a narrative about intimacy in a world that is increasingly detaching from physical contact? My thesis explores this question through interactive costumes and the use of Wearable technology. I created two micro-controlled costumes that employed a variety of proximity sensors and LEDs that light in reaction to the touch and closeness of another person. The costumes are a response to the statement made by MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle: "We're lonely, but afraid of intimacy." The garments were featured in both an interdisciplinary devised theatrical production I helped create, entitled RE/CONNECT, and an interactive educational exhibit, illustrating the importance of physical touch in an increasingly digital age. Only by integrating new and old technologies will theatre remain relevant and funded in a world that is losing interest in physical interaction. Beyond the benefits of study for the production team, the final thesis performance attracted audience members from a wide demographic range, including those outside of the theatrical community with positive results. By incorporating nontraditional technologies in performance, and allowing audience members to experience these technologies firsthand outside of a museum, I have challenged my colleagues in the theatre and sciences to further investigate applications of developing technologies, and put to art and technology in deeper conversation.




Costume, Technology, Wearable, Electronic, Engineering, Devised theatre, Interdisciplinary, Garment, Micro-controller, Micro-computer, Arduino, Performance, Dance, Proximity, Sensor, LED