Ying Gao

Back to summary

Two dresses, named “Can’t” and “Won’t”, displaying an aesthetic and motion reminiscent of microbial life, which react according to a facial expression recognition system and stop moving as soon as the on-looker begins to emote. Paradoxes. The “Can’t” and “Won’t” dresses push the notion of a false neutrality a bit further by asking the on-looker, who is usually highly solicited, reactive and emotional, to maintain a stoic attitude and posture. It is only on this condition that the garment’s “life” is prolonged, having already been set in motion by the visitor’s presence; it demands a level of humility clearly out of synch with today’s over-the-top expressiveness. Being asked to take an active part in a “living” system, the spectator therefore becomes a component of a self-generated ecosystem, as French philosopher Edgar Morin suggests in La Méthode, La Vie de la vie (The Method, The Life of Life): “Auto-eco-organisation signifies the plurality of possible relations within a living organism, which is simultaneously closed on itself, and infinitely open to the environment and its diversity.” This balletic back and forth is entertained by a means of trompe l’oeil, where robotised movements and shadow plays create a nuanced and delicate breathing effect.