Environment Dress, by María Castellanos and Alberto Valverde, wins the call Next Things 2015

The artists propose to create a smart dress that measures the aggressiveness of the environment to analyse how it affects the mood and behaviour of individuals

Published: May 18, 2015
Environment Dress, by María Castellanos and Alberto Valverde, wins the call Next Things 2015

Test 3D possible lighting modules that will be on the smart dress. Photo: Courtesy of the artists

Environment Dress, a proposal of the Asturian artist María Castellanos and the Madrid native Alberto Valverde, has been selected as winning project of Next Things 2015 – Conducta, el Cuarto Desafío Global de Arte y Tecnología, a joint call by Telefónica I+D, a research, development and innovation company of Grupo Telefónica, and LABoral. This call is aimed at linking up art and technology, artists and technology, and unleashing the huge potential that lies in combining the creativity and vision of artists with powerful open hardware technologies..

María Castellanos y Alberto Valverde work as an art collective since 2009 under the name uh513. Both are artists and researchers at Universidad de Vigo and in their work they explore the relationships and intersections occurring between machine and person. With Environment Dress they propose to create a smart dress that captures environment data to measure the aggressiveness around us and analysing how it affects our mood and behaviour.

This wearable dress will be equipped with sensors to analyse questions such as variations in noise, temperature, atmospheric pressure, ultraviolet radiation or the amount of carbon monoxide present in our daily life. All this information will be transferred, via Bluetooth or open wifi networks, to a mobile phone connected to the Internet and it will generate a big database set up with the geolocated references collected. These data will be shown to the user wearing the smart dress, or to anyone connecting to the project’s web or app, through an “amiable” visualisation.

Once the data hosted in a server have been analysed, response profiles are generated. For instance, when the programme running on the server detects a very high level of ultraviolet radiation, or a high concentration on carbon monoxide in the dress, it will send back a resoponse to the user of the dress that will be visualised through changes in lighting, always dependent on the data collected. Thus, the one that wears the dress will be warned that something in the environment is disturbing him.

Enviroment Dress will be a dress developed in open code, with free hardware and software. The projects website will host as well all the information needed for anyone to material needed to build one’s own dress.

María Castellanos and Alberto Valverde will develop this project in an artistic residency of six months, that will be distributed between LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, in Gijón, during two months, and Telefónica I+D in Barcelona, during four months. Telefónica R&D will provide a work space in its location, equipment as well as access to technological knowledge and Telefonica's technology platform. LABoral will provide lab space, equipment and technical support as well as access and exchange with other artists and creators at the Centre. LABoral also provides accommodation in Gijón.

Environment Dress has been selected among the 39 applications from all over the world by a jury made up by Pablo Rodríguez (Telefónica I+D), Pere Obrador (Telefónica I+D), Ramón Sangüesa (Co-creating Cultures / UPC), David Cuartielles (co-creator of Arduino and IOIO lab profesor at Malmo University, Sweeden), Patricia Villanueva (LABoral), David Morán (LABoral) and David Pello (LABoral). This decision is based on the artistic and cultural value of the proposal, the use on new technologies related with the Internet of Things, as well as the suitability to create prototypes using open hardware. Next Things 2015– Conducta was aimed at finding artistic and research that explored collective human behaviour through the use of new technologies, specifically ideas and techniques that implied data mining, pattern recognition, group behaviour and wearable technologies and biometric data.

María Castellanos Vicente (Gijón, 1985) is an artist and researcher. A graduate in Fine Arts at Universidad de Vigo, she is currently completing her thesis La piel biónica. Membranas tecnológicas como interfaces corporales en la práctica artística, where she researches about technological prostheses, focusing on hybridisations between cyborgs and wearables as a paradigm of extending human sensorial capabilities.

Her work has been selected in many art competitions and she has received several awards, such as Artista Revelación del Principado de Asturias en 2008, Premio Tentaciones 2011 – Feria Estampa, Madrid –, or the production grant AlNorte 2012, as well as the award Astragal 2013, with which she is producing the project corpo-realidad.

She has taken part in many exhibitions, both national and international, in countries like Portugal, Argentina, Colombia, Australia and Japan. Some of the recent shows are Eidos da Imaxe at museo MARCO in Vigo and corpo-realidad at CS-LAB at Zokei University Tokyo. (www.mariacastellanos.net y http://uh513.com/)

Alberto Valverde (Madrid, 1967) artista and technologist. With a solid experience in system design, creation of interactive environments, multimedia shows, web design and robotics, he has taught multimedia subjects at the School of Fine Arts of Universidad de Vigo and he is actually at the Audiovisual Animation Master Course and the Illustrated Book of this university.

He researches on chaos as a form of order, proposing the creation of random vectors, while focusing on the relationship man-machine.

In 2010 he received the first prize at the 11 Muestra Internacional Unión Fenosa for his interactive installation Reflejos y Antireflejos. His work has also received awards at Tentaciones 2011 –Feria Estampa, Madrid– and at AlNorte 2012. Moreover, he has been selected in many art contests such as Grabado Máximo Ramos in Ferrol, Lúmen_Ex – Premios de Arte Digital at Universidad de Extremadura and XLIV Certamen Nacional de Arte de Luarca, Asturias.

Some of his most recent exhibitions are Relacions/Interactions at Verge Gallery in Sydney and Desenho na Universidade Hoje, in Porto, Portugal.
(www.a-valverde.net y http://uh513.com/)

Telefónica I+D Telefónica I+D (R&D) is the research and development company of the Telefónica Group. Founded in 1988, its mission is to contribute to the Group’s competitiveness and modernity through technological innovation. To achieve this aim, the company applies new ideas, concepts and practices in addition to developing products and advanced services. It is one of the first private R&D centres in Spain in terms of activity and resources, and it is the first European company in terms of number the projects where it takes part.

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