When I first laid eyes on the “speaker dress”, it looked like a work of art. Developed by Peruvian Composer and performer Pauchi Sasaki, the shoulder-to-knee dress, made up of 100 speakers, was an out of this world instrument itself, a form of communication between her and us.
Developed in 2014 the Speaker Dress continues to wow in 2017. Two dresses exist nowadays, a black and a white one. There is no denying that the dress is the kind of wearable tech that naturally makes a daring fashion statement of another kind. On her creation, Pauchi has always been unafraid to make it clear that the dress has a more profound meaning than what we visually see. The protegee of Philip Glass explained that for her it was an electrical outlet that allowed her to express herself when she played her violin.
“I don’t create an object that makes things; I build extensions for human gestures.”
The Peruvian artist, who recently performed wearing the speaker dress at New York’s Carnegie Hall, said of her creation, “I realised that it had a very iconic power and people want to reduce the object and say, ‘Oh, that looks cool.” Adding, “But I really wanted to bring out the spirit of the instrument because of every instrument, like a violin or a piano, has a spirit.”
According to Shaun Tandon of Japan Today, “the speaker dress in itself does not have an acoustic capacity; it is connected to programming by Pauchi”. When she plays, it works by sending back processed sounds to speakers on her body. That being said, it did not all go well when she first used it. Her hair caught on fire. Since then she has fine-tuned it and is confident of its safety capabilities.
Acknowledging that so many human experiences and interactions are filtered through smartphones, speakers or other technology Pauchi said, “I don’t create an object that makes things; I build extensions for human gestures.” Adding, “I want to be able to deliver nuances through the instrument. And what I mean with that is that human emotion is not only about randomness or about will, it’s also about fragile moments, it’s about doubt, and it’s about strength — a wide range.”
Described by her mentor, 80-year-old composer Glass as “music that people should hear,” he said, about Pauchi’s compositions, “It’s work that’s inspired, it’s very natural, and it has its own sound. You can’t be taught to write that music.”