Sound is a way tomediate the space between personal and public
We move inside a cocoon of clothing, often unaware of how the sonic qualities of our
clothing convey information about our presence and identity. The following sonic garments raise awareness of the soundscape
produced by our movement in clothing, allowing one to use clothing to create different realms of
privacy and publicity.
When clothing is stretched by movement or rubbed against the environment, sound is inadvertently
created. The wearer often does not notice this effect, but is subconsciously aware of the audible artifact
as an inherent part of the experience of wearing clothing. The smooth ripple sound of silk, the scratch of
linen, the soft sounds of rubbing against fleece convey information about the wearer’s social identity in
a subtle way. This project brings these subtle noises to the forefront and examines how the wearer
becomes more or less private or public depending on their movement inside the fabric as they interact
with the environment.
Amplify Sleeve Shirt
A traditional bell-sleeve shirt makes subtle noise as it is folded and stretched by the wearer’s arm
movement. Here, the shirt has been augmented with a sound amplification circuit. The sleeve ends
contain microphones and the neck area contains a speaker. When the wearer moves their arms in a
dance performance, the audio from their movement is amplified and broadcast through the speakers.
The wearer becomes an overt performer through every movement, even small motions are amplified.
The sonified movements create drama and emphasize the motions in a performance setting. The use of
slow sweeping movements can create background textures, while fast motions can be used to create
percussive sounds. Her identity is projected through sound, enabled by her movements. The motions are
projected both visually and audibly, creating a synchronized sensorial experience for the performer
Description: Velvet shirt, with 12” wide bell sleeves long enough to reach to the middle of the hand. 2
microphones inside the sleeves, and 2 speakers located at the nape of the neck. A sound amplification
circuit will also be located near the back of the neck with button controls for adjusting the volume or
turning off the circuit.
As we move through the world, it can become necessary to shield ourselves from the sonic cacophony of the world around us. When wrapped tightly around the wearer, this scarf muffles
external sounds by amplfiying white noise. The Isolate scarf is augmented with circuitry to project
ambient soothing sounds around the head space. The scarf creates a noise barrier that hides the
person’s noise by cocooning the person inside an ambient noise bubble. The wearer can also choose to
wrap it loosely, so that the external environmental noise can leak through her ambient noise barrier,
and contribute to the overall environmental noise. This will subtly announce the wearer’s inclusion
into the environment. If the wearer decides to hide or isolate herself, she can draw the scarf close and
create a more focused ambient noise barrier. Closing up the scarf will visually hide the wearer’s face
and also audibly withdraw the wearer.
Descriptions: 72” x 48” scarf made of wool with 2 speakers equidistant by 8” from the centerline
(roughly ear). Ambient noise circuit, and conductive thread to control the ambient noise circuit through
material stretch, and a microphone in the center back to control the volume in relation to ambient noise.