The Next Conversation: “New Skins: Apparel, Shelter, and Identity”

Event Date: Tuesday, November 28, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

As part of our thinking about change, this time we’re looking at new skins, the ways in which we skin ourselves, and how that relates to fashion, architecture, art, and especially technological change. Read on for more detail.

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Afroditi Psarra, artist, Assistant Professor, DXARTS,  University of Washington

Heidi Parker, media and marketing consultant

Vikram Prakash, Professor of Architecture, University of Washington

Gabriel-Bello Diaz, fashion designer and engineer; Engineering and Design Instructor, TAF Academy

The Story

This topic may, at first glance, feel diffuse, extending through fashion, architecture, art, and technology. But I can see a number of interconnecting themes, running through design and making, and effectively culminating in the way we skin ourselves. And how that skinning is one way that say who we are, and who we are to become.

There’s a huge amount to say on this; I’ll be brief here. Clothing is of course a core part of the statement we make everyday about who we are and how we live our lives. But it has always been at the core of who we were to become. It’s no accident that some of the most enduring images of Surrealism are of costumes and clothing. The making of clothing has also been at the forefront of developments in manufacturing and making, and commerce. The shifts that are happening now, in materials, design, and selling, have broad repercussions across society.

Meanwhile, as the world of wearables expands and grows more complex, how does the idea of wearable technologies affect our lives? And what roles do art and performance play in those shifts?

Finally, there’s a fascinating interplay between fashion and architecture, with a creation of lived design, lived environments. I’d guess that Alexander McQueen will come up in the conversation, as will the artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. and his concept of five skins.

Come and talk about it.

This will be the last conversation on 2017. Next year, we’ll be focusing on some of edges and intersections around art and performance and some of the new technologies in virtual and augmented reality, biotech, 3D audio, computational photography, and more. Stay tuned.

The Guests in Detail

Afroditi Psarra is a multidisciplinary artist working with e-textiles, diy electronics and sound. Her artistic interest focuses on concepts such as the body as an interface, contemporary handicrafts and folk tradition, pop iconography, retrofuturistic aesthetics and the role of women in contemporary culture. Her artworks include a wide variety of media and techniques that extend from embroidery, soft circuits, hacking and creative coding, to interactive installations and sound performances.

She holds a PhD in Image, Technology and Design from the Complutense University of Madrid. Her academic research Cyberpunk and New Media Art focuses on the merge of science fiction ideas and concepts with performative and digital practices, and offers a philosophical, sociological and aesthetic analysis of the influence of new technologies in the contemporary artistic process.

Her work has been presented at numerous platforms such as Siggraph in Vancouver, Ars Electronica in Linz, Transmediale and CTM in Berlin, Amber in Istanbul, Piksel in Bergen, Electropixel in Nantes and MakerFaire in Rome between others. She has worked as an intern on Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing at Disney Research Zurich. She is currently appointed as assistant professor in the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.

Heidi Parker has been working behind the scenes for over 20 years to produce and craft the stories that brands and artists tell. A recent transplant to Seattle, she previously worked in New York on campaigns from Eternity and cK One to Bon Jovi and Revlon. Technology, pop culture, politics, and art all inform her best work with the new wave of communications through the disruptive tactics of the new shift toward tech informing her most recent work.

Dr. Vikramāditya “Vikram” Prakāsh is an architect, an architectural historian and theorist. He works on issues of modernism, postcoloniality, global history, urban theory, and fashion & architecture.

His books include Chandigarh’s Le Corbusier: The Struggle for Modernity in Postcolonial India,  A Global History of Architecture (with Francis DK Ching & Mark Jarzombek), Colonial Modernities: Building, Dwelling and Architecture in British India and Ceylon (with Peter Scriver, co-eds), The Architecture of Shivdatt Sharma and Chandigarh: An Architectural Guide. A Global History is widely used as a textbook and being translated into five languages. He is currently working on Deruralization: The Modernist City in the Age of Globalization (Routledge: 2017).

Vikram has served as Associate Dean and Chair at the University of Washington. His administrative experience includes capital campaigning, strategic planning, institutional networking, and mentoring. His public service includes terms on the Boards of the Seattle Center and the Seattle AIA.

Currently, Vikram is the Director of the Chandigarh Urban Lab, and founding board member of GAHTC – the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative. He is co-PI (with Mark M. Jarzombek, MIT) of a 2.5 million dollar Mellon Foundation grants to develop the teaching of global history in the academy. He also hosts ArchitectureTalk – a bi-weekly podcast dedicated to conversations on architecture and design thinking.

Vikram grew up in Chandigarh, India. He lives in Seattle with his wife and three children. He loves poetry, and is a modern dance and theater enthusiast. Fashion and architecture, or Body-Architecture, is his newest passion, an experiment in trying to cross-pollinate diverse disciplinary design intelligences.

Gabriel-Bello Diaz works in Seattle as a writer, architectural researcher, and instructor. His writings and reach focus on robotics and neuroscience in architecture and the emergence of the “digital artisan” in relation to the history of fabrication. As an instructor, he focuses on 3-D modeling and printing through the studies of complex geometries generated from both nature and mathematics. He has presented work in several conferences and exhibitions, including Robots in Architecture (2012), Venice Architecture Biennale 2012, and Future Traditions 2013. Diaz is director of the Future Architecture Coalition, a global nonprofit organization that advocates for new standard in public school education and initiates interventions in different countries with the international design team.


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