Code Name: Project 2175
Last Spring I started go-go dancing at a bar in Williamsburg. My instructions were simple: dance four sets, thirty minutes each set, wearing as little as possible. I was paid a flat fee and kept the tips. Aside from that there were no other constraints, I had complete creative freedom over my outfits.
I used this opportunity to try some new things. Most of the go-go boys I see follow a similar formula, a simple striptease usually involving American Apparel underwear or a jock strap. What I wanted to do was incorporate a theme or narrative into the stripping component. Here are a couple of pictures of my themed outfits. The outfits involving a striptease received the most response and tips from the audience, particularly the “office exec” strip where I stepped up on the platform in all the elements of a business suit save trousers, stripping until all I had on were the glasses, underwear, and loafers.
I liked how adding a little theater to the simple act of go-go dancing engaged people. During a conversation with my go-go mentor we talked about fun and playful ways to engage people. He told me about how he used to tie Crayola markers to string and attach them to his body, when people tipped they could then write on his body. It was at this point when I started thinking about ways to incorporate technology, particularly sensing and wearable technology, into my costumes.
One outfit I started constructing is what I call 2175. It started with Kate Hartman giving me a helmet on the condition that I would do something with it. I used it to start my 2175 Warrior outfit. The idea behind is that I am a warrior from the year 2175, a post-apocalyptic future of urban and electronic decay. I was inspired by old episodes of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century and the Pompei Club dance sequence from Sweet Charity. The outfit was basically a tattered cape sewn using cheap muslim fabric and a silver spraypainted helmet. And some tighties, of course. (See the rest of the pictures in the Flickr photoset)
I liked the direction I was going with this outfit and started thinking about ways to enhance it with sensors, soft circuits, and of course LED lights. I started wondering: What type of accessories does a warrior from the year 2175 carry or wear? What about a belt? What about a handheld weapon or device? How do these accessories interact with the rest of the outfit? What about visual feedback that acknowledges tips receives and possible encourages it? I must point out that the helmet serves as a wonderful enclosure for electronics, there is about an inch of space between the hard part of the helmet and the soft part that cups the head.
For Project 3 I am proposing an iteration of “Project 2175.” I want to refine the helmet and cape, using the helmet to provide visual feedback for tips received and the cape to respond to movement.
Project 2175 Trajectory