1507 WearNext 2015

Technology is increasingly infiltrating all aspects of our lives and the rapid uptake of devices that live near, on or in our bodies is facilitating radical new ways of working, relating and socialising. This distribution of technology into the very fabric of our everyday life creates new possibilities, but also raises questions regarding our future relationship with data and the quantified self. By embedding technology into the fabric of our clothes and accessories, it becomes ‘wearable’. Such ‘wearables’ enable the acquisition of and the connection to vast amounts of data about people and environments in order to provide life-augmenting levels of interactivity.

The works exhibited in Wear Next 2015 provide a snapshot into the broad spectrum of wearables in design and in development internationally. Featuring works from 48 artists from Hong Kong, Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and the United States of America, this exhibition serves as a platform for enhanced broader debate around future technology, our mediated future selves, and the evolution of human interactions.

Tobias Klein’s Vessels of Vanitas was exhibited in WearNext 2015.

Vessels of Vanitas is an intimate and personal encounter with the concept of vanitas – the ars moriendi and the memento mori in a culture, post the image and believe spaces of medieval and renaissance times.

Today is a time of scientific reason and post-modernity, the Christian belief space of Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas.[Eccl. 1:2;12:8] translated to Vanity of vanities; all is vanity is in question in doubt and appears out of context and potentially inappropriate. Yet equally one’s own withering transience is an essential human defining element – our relationship to death and the finite quality of life.

Commenting on this conundrum, the work historically looks back while positioning itself within the cutting edge of medical and technological horizons. The project takes two main routes in an attempt to combine the crafted qualities of eras of human craftsmanship, with the scientific precision and revelations of our post-natural time.

As a starting point, vessels orient and aligns themselves with one of the oldest crafts in human history – the making of vessels for human remains. Reaching back as far as 7000 BC and throughout all cultures, the ornate and narrative vessels containing the remains celebrated richness and detail.