Maggie Orth: Firefly Dress and Necklace

  • ©1997, Maggie Orth

  • ©1997, Maggie Orth



    Firefly Dress and Necklace


Creation Year:



    Electronic costume


Artist Statement:

    Creators of computational art are beginning to dream of changing not only the software inside computers, but also of changing the physical form and place of computers in the world. Such artistic practice has usually been limited to reshaping a plastic shell, or perhaps covering it with wood or fur. But for computers to truly transform from mundane office machines, creators of computational objects must (as architects do with buildings) control, understand, and influence the electronic materials from which such devices are constructed.

    The Firefly Dress uses unusual electronic materials to radically change the form and image of computational devices. The dress and necklace use conductive fabric, beads, and Velcro to distribute power throughout the dress. As the wearer moves, LED’s attached to fuzzy conductive pads, (the electrical contacts) brush lightly against the conductive fabric layers, creating a dynamic lighting effect. The necklace (having no power supply of its own) creates dynamic light effects in multicolored LEDs when its conducting beads and tassels brush against the surface of the dress. These brush-like connections distribute power without hard connectors and wires, allowing the dress to flow and move with the motions of the wearer.