Previously featured in our International Women’s Day article, architect and interactive designer Behnaz Farahi blurs the lines between technology, art, and fashion.

BEHNAZ FARAHI | 2015 | CINEMATOGRAPHY BY CHARLIE NORDSTROM AND LENA KULIKOVA

Farahi’s Caress of the Gaze challenges our conceptions of interactive art and clothing. The “interactive 3D Printed wearable” (Farahi, 2015) uses an image sensing technology camera which causes the piece to shift and ripples in reaction to the gaze of an onlooker. Thus the wearable’s form is dependent on its environment. The merging of body and tech is further explored in Farahi’s following project.

BEHNAZ FARAHI | 2015 | CINEMATOGRAPHY BY MITCHELL STURM

As artist in residence at Auto-desk Pier 9’s creative workshop for design and fabrication in San Francisco, Farahi has access to the latest emerging technologies. By implementing these in a contemporary art and architectural context, it brings to light the “potential of interactive environments” (Farahi, 2015). Ever fascinated with the human body’s relationship with the technological environment, her new piece, Synapse, creates a tangible and visual manifestation of the said relationship.

BEHNAZ FARAHI | 2015 | SCHOOL OF CINEMATIC ARTS, GALLERY SPACE, USC

The 3D printed helmet of Synapse has adapted Neurosky’s EEG technology and the Mindflex headset; which can monitor the Eletroencephalography (EEG) area of the brain; in other words, electrical activity.

BEHNAZ FARAHI | 2015 | CINEMATOGRAPHY BY MITCHELL STURM

EEG has the ability to measure Attention, Meditation, Delta, Theta, and other types of brain data. By reading the neural commands relating to attention, the helmet is able to translate such signals into kinetic movement.

BEHNAZ FARAHI | 2015 | CINEMATOGRAPHY BY MITCHELL STURM

Farahi says, “The main intention of this project is to explore the possibilities of multi-material 3d printing in order to produce a shape-changing structure around the body as a second skin.” This concept of second skin is certainly apt; as the movement of the 3D printed helmet is beautifully seamless. It expands and retracts effortlessly, and illuminates in accordance with the brainwaves of the wearer. Despite its technological feats, it holds its own in aesthetic design due to its organic form.

SYNAPSE | 2015 | BEHNAZ FARAHI

It expands and retracts effortlessly, and illuminates in accordance with the brainwaves of the wearer. Despite its technological feats, it holds its own in aesthetic design due to its organic form.

SYNAPSE | 2015 | BEHNAZ FARAHI

In this context, it is a stunning wearable technological piece of art. However, the advanced technology can also be implemented into prosthetics for the blind or paralysed. So intimate is the relationship between this technology and the human body; it’s as if it becomes an extension of oneself. Striving to blur the distinction between the body and environment, Synapse proves this is entirely possible, leaving the question – what constitutes as ‘the body?’

Written by Sonia Wan

Edited by Christina Wright

References

Behnaz Farahi (2016) About [Online] Available at http://Http://www.behnazfarahi.com/204246/about [Accessed 14/03/16]

Behnaz Farahi (2016) Synapse [Online] Available at http://behnazfarahi.prosite.com/204244/5572755/gallery/synapse [Accessed 14/03/16]

Design Milk (2016) Behnaz Farahi Synapse 3D-Printed Helmet is Controlled by Brainwaves [Online] Available at http://design-milk.com/behnaz-farahi-synapse-3d-printed-helmet-controlled-brainwaves/ [Accessed 14/03/16]