Sebastian Carpenter, Connie Ye, and Alice Fang (2020)

zoöid is a line of networked wearable art inspired by deep-sea organisms that communicate with light and color. Each piece is equipped with LED lights controlled by an Arduino microprocessor. Using XBee radio transmitters, the pieces are able to communicate with each other, and with a central computer, in order to synchronize their patterns and rhythms, and create an intricate lightshow together.

zoöid was designed and fabricated by CMU undergraduate students, Sebastian Carpenter (BCSA-Design), Connie Ye (BCSA-Art), and Alice Fang (Design). They write: “We were interested in using these electronic formats to create a line of eight pieces that functioned as a single mega-organism. We looked to pyrosomes in the depths of the ocean that use flashes of light to synchronize their movements. Despite being small organisms on their own, this ability to communicate allows the pyrosomes to work together and operate as a much larger organism. zoöid functions in much the same way on a stage, using synchronized light and choreography to transform 8 pieces of clothing into a single, fluid spectacle.”

zoöid was made possible by support from CMU’s SURG research grant program, and Microgrant #2020-021 from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier. The zoöid line was presented at the 2020 Lunar Gala, one of Pittsburgh’s largest annual fashion events. The artists extend special thanks to Sidney Church for advice on the electronic components and code, to Richard Parsakian and Scott Andrew for mentoring on the designs, to Golan Levin for lending tools and studio space for the project, to the Lunar Gala Photo Team for the show and studio photographs, and to the models, Remi Adeoti, Taylor Campbell, Baris Denizli, Rahjshiba Koanda, Angela Lee, Audry Stuart, Ale van Praag, and Emily Wu. More images of zoöid can be found in this archive.