So, Dress For Our Time has arrived at the Science Museum, London, complete with its latest digital adornment and we are thrilled! Working in collaboration, Helen Storey and digital innovation agency Holition have created an artwork that is beautiful, thought provoking and which clearly visualises the truth behind the figures of one of the world’s most pressing issues, that of human movement around the globe.
The Science Museum have been hoping to work with Helen for many years now. Her practice exploring cutting edge science, technology and global issues through the medium of fashion is quite unique and Dress For Our Time offered us the perfect opportunity to finally realise this aim.
The dress sits alongside the newly opened exhibition Our Lives in Data (to 1st September 2017) which explores the invisible revolution of big data. From our daily commute to our genes, more and more information about our lives is being recorded as huge amounts of data, even when we don’t realise it! This rise in the accumulation of data has proved a rich ground for exploration by artists and creative communities who are able to interpret, imagine and interrogate the data in exciting and innovative ways, often revealing hidden truths behind the inaccessible numbers.
Helen and Holition have done just that. Working with the latest data provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Global Trends in Human Displacement report (June 2016) they have taken that raw and impersonal data and transformed it into an artwork which traces the journeys of refugees from the continents they have been forced to flee, to the countries in which they have found sanctuary. Each point of light in the animation represents 100 human lives laying bare the scale of the movement and revealing not a map of the world but a map created by human movement.
The animation on its own is beautiful and truly revealing but in the huge, noisy, crowded environment of the Science Museum it is the collaboration between fashion and data that is able to make visitors pause and reflect. By projecting the animation onto Dress For Our Time, a dress made from a decommissioned UNHCR tent which once housed refugees, the artwork is grounded by its human story and history. Through the dress and supporting film Helen has used the language of fashion in a truly unique way to draw people in to engaging with this very complex and important subject.
Data is being used to transform the world around us and how we understand that world. It has the potential to tell powerful truths and human stories. What Dress For Our Time demonstrates is that sometimes it takes a creative and unique vision to penetrate the figures and genuinely make them meaningful and relevant.