Yoonha ( Pepper ) Kim
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Mark

wearing pixels




Think of Instagram filters, smart mirrors, virtual clothes in social VR, augmented digital clothing and AR Cloud. Electronically generated clothing can make you look like your lover, dog blood cells, or something as big as the space debris found in the solar system with a click of a button. When self-identity becomes as composable as this, coherence and continuity in identity are suspended in time and space. Consequently, wearing pixels could significantly change the notion of self-image and social interactions. As the development of virtual self-image seems unstoppable within our global profit driven society, conducting radical technological experiments and building a corpus for theoretical ethical framework are needed to deal with its impact.

Digital design industry is making virtual elements invisibly smear into the physical space, which gives it power to edit the meaning of real life. What if we instead make virtual images evidently conspicuous, through amplifying pixels’ ability to project physically impossible things? Whilst working in the fashion industry, I was weary of the same historical and cultural references being repeatedly used as inspiration. Although I tried to find a way out of this repetition through digital technology, I realized that in the grand scheme, computer-generated images are also creating futures from the past. As Vilém Flusser describes, technical images sit on historical threads like parasites, recoding them into circles.

In order to push virtual imagery further to be distinctively different from the physical world,
we need new types of imagination.