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Garments of Paradise: Wearable Discourse in the Digital Age Hardcover – June 13, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


Garments of Paradise gives an impressive overview of wearable technology as an evolving set of ideas within a range of historical and social contexts. Susan Elizabeth Ryan investigates wearables as part of a complex language of dress that has always involved technology and establishes a critical context by drawing on the writings of theorists and philosophers. The book makes an invaluable contribution to shaping the discourse on wearable technologies as a cultural phenomenon embedded in social behavior, communication, and display.

(Christiane Paul, Associate Professor, School of Media Studies, The New School; Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art)

With Susan Elizabeth Ryan, we're leaving behind fashion retromania for techno-textile designs. Ryan gives us a break from the guilt over sustainability and the obsession with new materials, exposing us to the aesthetics of technology itself and its multiple prehistories. Equipped with the latest theoretical insights, Ryan delivers a who's who of the wearable tech scene. Garments of Paradise teaches us to distinguish wearables from smart phones, Google Glass devices, and Twitter Dresses.

(Geert Lovink, Institute of Network Cultures)

Susan Elizabeth Ryan weaves an n-dimensional critical analysis of wearable computing that is extensive and highly researched. She presents a multiperspective approach to knowledge production focused on the body in relation to the multifaceted potentials of computation -- from function, to form, to erotics. She articulates a technomadic continuum that moves from the affective to mentions of medicine, the military, miniaturization, and on to the material interface, always with a focused and refocusing accretive critical eye. From fashion to pure function, to hybrids and beauty--all is in an authored/coded becoming.

(Bill Seaman, Media Researcher and Artist; Professor, Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Duke University)

About the Author

Susan Elizabeth Ryan is Professor of Art History, Theory, New Media, and Design at the Louisiana State University School of Art.

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More About the Author

Susan Elizabeth Ryan, Ph.D., Professor of Art History at Louisiana State University and Affiliate of the LSU Center for Computational Technology (CCT). She teaches contemporary and new media art history and helped found an interdisciplinary Art/Engineering undergraduate minor at LSU entitled AVATAR. She has lectured internationally on dress and creative technology, and recently published Garments of Paradise: Wearable Discourse in the Digital Age. She is currently researching digital/wearable media and the environment. Her earlier works focused on autobiographical artists (Robert Indiana, Marsden Hartley).

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