Hedy Hurban


The realm of this thesis combines the areas of computer music, fashion design, digital art, smart clothing, biometrics, cultural traditions and performance. Dervish Sound Dress is a wearable piece of technology; a garment that is inspired by the sacred ‘turning’ experience of the Whirling Dervishes or the Mevlevi Sufi order in Turkey known as the sema. It utilizes the fundamental aspects of the sema such as music, performance and body movement through spiritual elation by creating a unique and interactive experience. Wearable technology is a burgeoning field of research. Fashion designers who are using smart textiles or integrating fashion and technology in some way require collaboration with electrical engineers and programming professionals. The garment functions as a body instrument and can be manipulated by the wearer. The cultural traditions of the Mevlevi Sufis and their metaphysical experience during the turning ritual of the sema performance is the inspiration behind the creation of a garment that emulates sounds by using body movement. Dervish Sound Dress is outfitted with sensors that trigger musical sounds when the wearer touches the bodice interface or changes gesture or movement. The wearer is alerted to the sounds through the use of haptics that are sensed on the body. The sensation is similar to when a musician plays an instrument that reverberates resulting in an immersive relationship that goes further than the auditory. The aim is to develop garments that will inspire the creation of musical sounds that can be controlled by an intuitive interface in clothing. It is a study that uses technology and performance by taking a sacred experience and creating artistic expression. Dervish Sound Dress seeks to examine how technology can be integrated into a garment as an expressive body instrument to augment contemporary sonic performance.

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