Peau d'Âne - interactive weather dresses (2011)

In Sky Dress, Moon Dress and Sun Dress, which together constitute the installation Peau d'âne,Valérie Lamontagne utilizes technological interfaces and the surfaces of three specially designed garments to render visible, in a wonderfully fanciful way, invisible elements of the natural world.

Full Description

"The design of the Peau d'âne dresses plays with fashion and fable to reflect characteristics of the celestial bodies they refer to, even as they draw upon associations to the transformative powers associated with clothing in fairy tales. Thus, the inflatable Sky Dress, dark and light blue with silver lining, suggests the lightness and airiness of clouds; the dress expands as clouds gather in the sky. The Moon Dress, cool grey with black accents, is covered with flowers whose colours change (through the resistive heating of its thermochromic inks via conductive threads) from deep burgundy to pale blue as the moon waxes and wanes. The Sun Dress, all burnished yellows, golds, and browns, is designed in “flaring” panels as if to suggest a response to the intensity of the sun's rays. The trio of dresses in Peau d'âne can be situated within the field of interactive “wearable” technology, and they constitute a specific contribution to this field. In Peau d'âne, Lamontagne has translated environmental factors into animating elements of wearable displays, creatively adapting advanced new media technologies for the purpose. The works are interactive in myriad ways, from their capacity to respond to and “map” the natural environment to their potential performative quality as garments to be worn. The incorporation of clothing as an element of art practice dates back to the avant-garde of the early 20th century; however, the integration of computers and other technologies is of a more recent cast. Nam June Paik's iconic 1975 TV Bra for Living Sculpture, in which the classical cellist Charlotte Moorman wore two miniature TV monitors as a bra, manipulating the images on the monitors as she bowed the cello, is an early instance of art entering the field of electronic interactive “wearables.” This emerging creative field has expanded to the point that it now has a host of sub-categories: wearable interfaces, electronic textiles, fashion technologies, smart materials, conductive textiles, wearable computing, responsive materials and intelligent clothing are only some of the terms for current areas of investigation. Yet in this emerging area of creative exploration, where art, textile and technology are bound together, functional and technological aspects are often the driving force, while conceptual and artistic factors are secondary. Lamontagne's work excites by skillfully bridging technology and creativity while giving primacy to aesthetic and poetic dimensions." /Renee Baert

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2011
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Wednesday Feb 9th, 2011
  • Original Url:
  • Work Credits:
    • valerie.lamontagne, primary creator
    • Patrice Coulombe, MAX/msp Programming
    • David Beaulieu, Engineering & Circuits
    • Lynn van Gastel, Dress Construction
Want to see more?
Take full advantage of the ArtBase by Becoming a Member

This artwork has no comments. You should add one!
Leave a Comment