If you are looking to do something Techonomic this weekend and are in our fair city of New York, you might check out Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It closes on Labor Day, so don’t delay.
The exhibit does not compare clothing created by humans with what is spit out by algorithms. Rather, it challenges the viewer to explore the delicate ways in which we have harnessed the power of technology to create rare and breathtaking works of art, that happen to be wearable. While fashion is the catalyst for the concept, technology is the key element of the exhibit.
Upon entering the main room (or what the exhibit refers to as the “main cocoon”) you are confronted by a phenomenal haute couture wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. Its impossibly long train is embellished with gemstones and gold metallic pigment. The dress is hand-made, but the pattern on the train is computer generated, giving it a complexity that would be otherwise impossible. These kinds of design elements reoccur throughout the exhibit, which often juxtaposes a simplicity of creation to a complexity of pattern.
Some of the items on display are completely bizarre. One “gown” in particular is almost completely rigid and operates like a personal transportation device. The bottom of the dress is on wheels and the person “wearing” the garment is completely enclosed within the skirt. If that wasn’t unique enough, the dress has embellishments that can be launched into the air at the press of a button. There are even two dresses made completely out of drinking straws.
The lower level features several dresses on display with elements that have been either partially or totally 3-D printed, and run the gamut from shockingly complex to stark and simple.
The Manus x Machina exhibit is on display until September 5th. The museum will be extending its closing hours for the final weekend of the exhibit.