Dervish Sound Dress – wearable technology for a unique musical journey



Hedy Hurban (Postgraduate Research Student, Computer Music) writes:

The realm of my thesis combines the areas of computer music, fashion design, digital art, smart clothing, biometrics, cultural traditions and performance.  Dervish Sound Dress is a wearable piece of technology; a garment that is inspired by the sacred ‘turning’ experience of the Whirling Dervishes or the Mevlevi Sufi order in Turkey known as the sema. It utilizes the fundamental aspects of the sema such as music, performance and body movement through spiritual elation by creating a unique and interactive experience.

Wearable technology is a burgeoning field of research.  Fashion designers who are using smart textiles or integrating fashion and technology in some way require collaboration with electrical engineers and programming professionals.  The garment functions as an instrument when it is worn and changes depending on how the wearer moves. The cultural traditions of the Mevlevi Sufis and their metaphysical experience during the turning ritual of the sema performance is the inspiration behind the creation of a garment that emulates sounds by using body movement.  Dervish Sound Dress is outfitted with sensors that trigger musical sounds when the wearer moves with it.  The wearer is alerted to the sounds through the use of haptics that are sensed on the body.  The sensation is similar to when a musician plays an instrument that reverberates resulting in an immersive relationship that goes further than the auditory.  The aim is to develop garments that will inspire the creation of musical sounds that can be controlled by an intuitive interface in clothing.  It is a study that uses technology and performance by taking a sacred experience and creating artistic expression.

The project seeks to examine how technology can be integrated into a garment as an expressive body instrument to augment contemporary sonic performance.  Dervish Sound Dress explores how through performance, sound vibrations that are used in a garment can generate an emotive response in the wearer.  This dress is accessible to anyone wishing to embark on a unique musical journey.



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