for what it’s worth

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Showcased at Seamless, a “fashion event featuring innovative and experimental works in computational apparel design, interactive clothing, and technology-based fashion” organized by MIT Media Lab graduate students, Markus Kison’s ‘Charming Burka’ is a digitally-enabled covering that gives the wearer the option of electronically displaying the face they are being made to hide. A controversial product, though not explicitly forbidden by Islamic law, the burka apparently deals with Freud’s idea that all clothes can be positioned between appeal and shame.

The German designer describes the concept behind his project:

The Burka was chosen because it is often perceived in the west as a symbol of repression. Then a digital layer was added to it so that women can decide for themselves where they want to position themselves virtually. The Burka sends an image, chosen by the wearer, via bluetooth. Every person next to her can receive her picture via mobile phone and see the woman’s self-determined identity. The laws of the Koran are not broken, so the Charming Burka fulfills the desire of living a more western life, which some Muslim women desire today. the Burka is equipped with bluetooth antenna/micro-controller and uses the OBEX protocol, already working with most mobile phones.

Although the “Charming Burka” is positioned in the context of religion, this project should be seen as a research towards the future possibilities of everyday clothing to own a digital layer and transmit additional information about its wearer. It questions which information people would choose to send. For example this might also be an image of their “Second Life” avatar.

Markus Kison – also the creator of the Vanity Ring

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