Data Vows is a series of biometric sensing garments for near future commitment ceremonies. It imagines a world where these rituals are no longer sworn by words, but by unlocked by displaying and exchanging our most sacred physical information: our heartbeat. In order to be wed, partners must trade heartbeat data to cement their devotion. When one partner is in close enough proximity, a custom crafted corset senses and a handmade kerchief illuminate and respond to the rhythm of their combined heartbeats. This initial series is an exploration into wearable technology and e-textiles as ritual objects and design probes to critique embedded power structures within societal systems. Speculative design methods formed the framework, with traditions, textiles, modes of communication, and personal data as the components.

Rituals play a central role in human’s ability to create meaning, whether individual or collective. The combination of technology and craft, familiar and unexpected, real and speculative affords a space to reimagine rituals that reinforce unbalanced power structures in favor of new narratives. As a garment and ritual object, Data Vows represents one example of such a narrative. Based on this initial inquiry, I plan to further develop this research by crafting eTextile objects focused on rituals of intimacy.

This project is part of the International Symposium on Wearable Computers Design Exhibition. To view the accepted brief, click here: Data Vows: Reimagining Ritual through eTextile Practice



Full documentation forthcoming. In the meantime, check out the full Flickr set here.