VIVIAN XU – SKIN SERIES

Guest curators selection: Robertina Šebjanič and Alenka Trebušak

Skin Series is a series of artistic and experimental exploration in the developing realm of wearable technology. The artist’s interest lies in the epidermis, the largest organ on the human body – the boundary between the internal and external, self and other – and how new technologies can blur, manipulate and reinvent that boundary. 

ELECTRIC SKIN

2016

The invisible landscape of electromagnetic signals has changed with the development and proliferation of electronic technology. It is more omnipresent in our surrounding environment than ever before, and is a major part of the fabric of our contemporary lives. But for better or worse, as our habitat changes with technology, are we prone to change with it as well? This is the question that lies at the center of the first piece of this series, the Electric Skin Project. 

The Electric Skin explores the possibility of creating a wearable that extends the functionality of the skin to sense electromagnetic fields (mostly within the radio spectrum) and translate that information into touch sensation. The wearable consists of two main functional parts: 1) A matrix of omnidirectional antennas that act as sensors and probes and 2) corresponding electrodes that stimulate the skin of the wearer. Through this artificial “skin” or “exoskeleton”, the wearable changes our experience, perception, and understanding of space and movement, and in doing so, our interactions. The project speculates on the possible co-evolution of man and technology and draws attention to the role of environmental influence on our own bodily development and behavior. 

This project was featured in:

Anomaly Unreasonable mini-documentary

Creators Project Vice China’s mini series Future Home, Episode 7: China

Interview by CGTV English Channel 

SONIC SKIN

2018

The Sonic Skin is the second piece in this series that explores this issue and experiments with the medium of spatial sound. The Sonic Skin projects directional sound like a sound amour from the contours of the body, much like a bat’s or a whale’s sonar system, where the journey of the sound is audible to the audience and illustrates the physical relationship between wearer and environment. 

The first prototype of this piece was supported by UNArt Center.