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Morphogenesis performance at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK.

Project Description

The Extimacy Dress is a collaborative, experimental, and speculative project which came out of my thesis on full body gesture interaction. The research question for my thesis was, how can gesture change the way we interact with our environment, and more specifically, how can it change the way we fall in love? The dress senses the wearer's level of arousal through micro-gestures and affective states, taking biofeedback data from the wearer. The project is presented in two parts. First, a live performance where the dress is worn by the dancer during which the dancer responds in a gestural dialogue. The second part is a video installation capturing flirtation in non-verbal, intentional traces based on externalized intimate emotions. The dress uses gesture recognition and machine learning to develop a communication system of its own.

Hana Zeqa is an MA Costume Design for Performance graduate from UAL: London College of Fashion. Prior to her MA she finished her BA for Stage Design and has also a musical background. Her experience varies from film, video, tv and space installation. Having costume as the main focus, she is interested in visual experimentation with multimedia and technology.

Tingles down your spine, heart pounding, hands fidgeting, your breathing gets faster, as you walk closer and brush by. Your body and your mind respond on the same nervous rhythm and you both surmount a mutual barrier.

"We respond to gestures in accordance with an elaborate and secret code that is written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all"

- Mark Knapp

I spent 4 months doing research on my thesis question around digital gestural interactions, body language, affective computing, human computer interaction, & wearable technology. Then I used the design of the dress & performance to test out the theories presented in my research. I used design research & analysis to arrive at possible outcomes & the execution was heavily experimental, allowing the process of making to shape the final execution. I worked with technologies & disciplines I was unfamiliar with, iterating quickly.


Work in progress documentation can be found here.

Performance & Exhibition

The result of the project was exhibited at the London College of Communication as a video installation and performed by Amy at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London, UK. The exhibition talks about the gestures in love and attraction along with footage of the dress opening. It is aimed at opening up discussion around the researched topics from my thesis.

The performance, called Morphogenesis represented a concept of emotions being expressed through the dress. It is a hypothetical merging of emotional processes and their reactions in our body. We used projection mapping and motors controlled by the performer to enhance the visual transformation and creation of the emotional manifestations in the costume, with the intention of exploring future possibilities of combining organic functions with digital technology as a tool in interactive design and performance creation.

The video installation spanned across 10 windows above the Well Gallery totalling 10m in length

Work in progress video


Costume Designer - Hana Zeqa

Performer - Amy Louise Cartwright

Music Composition - Zgjim Elshani

Thanks to:

Jennifer Irons - Stage Performance Choreographer

Joel Lewis - Mentor, Interaction Designer

All LCC and LCF staff members and tutors who've helped me on this project

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