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04e1 The Personal Space Dress.jpg

Urban Armor #2: The Personal Space Dress, 2014. Fabric, motors, ultrasonic sensors, microcontroller, umbrella parts, recycled plastic, 36 x 36 x 36 inches. Photo: Courtesy of the Artist.

Urban Armor Video Reel, 2013-2018, digital video, 16:00 minutes made up of eight 2:00 minute digital videos. 

Kat McDermott’s Urban Armor series incorporates sensors, motors, and armature into wearable fashion in a playful response to real social danger and everyday irritations, a recognition that the line between these two categories is often unclear.  The Personal Space Dress disallows strangers access to the body, enabling the wearer to relax even in the most crowded of public spaces. Her work is purposely impractical so that viewers don’t simply covet Urban Armor for their wardrobes. Rather, its absurdity allows her audience to reevaluate current accepted social practices that make such bodily devices relatable.

Kat McDermott is a media artist with a background in installation and sculpture. She combines her knowledge of fabrication and sculpture with open source hardware to build a language of absurdity that merges Critical Design, performance, and video. She is interested in technologies that are not productive, robots badly suited to absurd purposes and electronic creations beyond her control.

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