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Life Dress f2 | Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller wearing the game of life dress on the High Line with car headlights in the background.
Life Dress on the High Line

Life Dress f2

Life Dress f2 - photoshoot

Life Dress on the High Line

Life Dress f2

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The Life Dress is a wearable piece, depicting the symbiotic relationship of living organisms through an array of LEDs embedded in a dragon skin dress running Conway’s Game of Life.

It is a challenge to find the right interactive balance within groups of people. We can be overwhelmed if we stretch ourselves too thin. Yet, we have a fundamental need for interaction just to survive.

This is reflected in the life and death cycles of LEDs on the Life Dress. Conforming to the rules developed in Conway’s Game of Life, LEDs turn on if the cells they represent an “alive” cell or off if the cells are “dead.” Whether a cell is born, survives, or dies is determined by the condition of adjacent cells. A lone cell cannot survive by itself. Similarly, too many companions can overwhelm a cell. Thus, this algorithm expresses the interdependence of organisms.

The Life Dress is a garment constructed of dragon skin silicone with leds embedded inside. The dress is largely a conceptual experiment in constructing a garment out of unusual materials. The dragon skin is poured as tiles with an led embedded in each tile. The tiles are then linked together in a grid formation to construct what is, in effect, a platform for dynamic patterns, animations, and interactive displays.

The form of the dress is inspired by the grid layout used in running John Conway’s algorithm, the Game of Life. I was intrigued how, with a simple set of rules, the algorithm generated entrancing animations which I could visualize on a dress as a dynamic pattern. Thus, each tile on the dress represents a cell so that the dress becomes a board that envelopes the wearer. The pattern is also easily reinterpreted as a cylindrical screen with three inch square pixels so that the dress can be re-purposed for other other patterns and interactive displays.

Additionally, while the dress is semi transparent to diffuse the light, it also means that observers can see through the dress to what is beneath. However, when lit, the tiles obscure this view so that an observer can only see vague shadows. Thus, depending on what tiles are on and what tiles are off, the Life Dress can be considered an exercise in public indecency.

Interview with In The Qube

My interview with In The Qube about the Life Dress. Wait til the end to see the “pheonix” pattern playing on the dress.



Life Dress on the High Line

Life Dress on the High Line…In January.

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