Body Electric is a sound-reactive robotic dress, intended for presentation in both performance and installation formats. The project receives input from its wearer in the form of musical pitch, and responds kinetically by means of an eight-foot-wide, motor-actuated skirt. The performance features a vocalist who both wears the dress and also controls it, by singing an original composition. In an installation context, viewers can use a custom iPhone app which, by means of their arm movements, causes the dress to move and create “unsettling acoustical sounds.”
Body Electric was created by Lauren Valley, a senior in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art; it is the latest in a series of multimedia dresses that she has been working on since high school. Valley’s Body Electric was supported in part by Grant #2016-p07 from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier. It was exhibited as part of the CreatePGH Innovation Salon in June 2017, and also appeared on the front page of CMU.edu.