Art and technology could lead to a self-acceptance future By Valeria Boi

There has been a lot of talk about the metaverse in recent years, the 3D virtual world where everything is possible, where every aspect of life can be involved.

Fashion has also participated in this augmented reality, luxury brands created clothes and accessories to be worn virtually through special viewers. Everyone can wear these luxury garments, also who cannot afford to buy expensive clothes, and this is one of the positive side of the metaverse, fashion that becomes accessible.

The power of technology has no limits, as soon as a discovery is made, immediately after, there is a new one that everyone obviously wants to experience.

So what’s next? As we all know, fashion is art and needs to be creative. That’s what we expect in every collection from fashion designers, to be surprised by their art.

This happened with the digital fashion designer Yimeng Yu who recently created three virtual dresses inspired by Vogue Singapore, with fabrics and silhouettes hardly to replicate in reality, using five software. 

Curvature / Digital Fashion Design by Yimeng Yu

Art and technology, two closely connected worlds united by the key factor of innovation. Art is seen as irrational and inspirational, and technology is considered as the mechanical part, robotics, systematics. But they are driven by the desire for discovery and their union is featured in Vogue Singapore’s Fashion's New World virtual reality space in collaboration with Spatial, where creativity reaches its maximum expression. A place where everyone can express its creativity with no limits and can bring personal values and personality.

The Singaporean artist Jo Ho created a series of images starting from picture of human faces. She reproduced these images using a software called Runway ML, that is capable of changing some characteristics of human faces and creating new images.

Another much more significant example is the photo series themed ‘Bio Resonance’ created by Terry Gates. The Australian artist created metahumans using CGI, computer generated imagery, where faces have asymmetrical features, they merge with the crystals of the earth and the result is a fascinating and disturbing face at the same time. 



Al metahumans crafted by artist Terry Gates for Vogue Singapore's September issue themed 'Fashion's New World'


The images are produced by MidJourney, a program that works through a server and produces images based on messages uploaded by Gates. 

Why use so much technology to produce images so far from reality?

There has always been the desire to revolutionise human experience, the Surrealism movement in visual art, inspired by the artist Giorgio De Chirico and with the famous artist Salvador Dali’, is the representation of dream and reality.

The ordinary mixed with the bizarre that confuses and surprises the viewer, and that carries with it important meanings.

The same reaction that the "bio resonance" images evoke, because the intention of Terry Gates was to look for beautiful images, not beautiful faces. And this makes a big difference in fashion and art. He is aware of this, because these metahuman faces are far from the perfection that society seems to aspire to, symmetries, socially accepted ideals of beauty. Gates said “I hope people will find some beauty in the strangeness of these images, and if that translates into self-acceptance in any way, then the machines have taught us something valuable.”

This is a powerful concept especially nowadays, where people is constantly retouching their pictures, detaching themselves more and more from their real image. Magazines retouch models and we retouch ourselves because we aspire to a perfect stereotype according to current standards of beauty, which are most of the time unreachable and create frustration in people.

So why should it disturb this fusion between reality and art-technology?

Art offers us images that are a mixture of human and something imaginary that indeed does not exist in reality. But what this intersection between real image and art can do is showing new, different, strange faces that can be considered existing and therefore lead people to accept uncommon faces and bodies that do not conform to current ideals of beauty. This is a positive element that art can bring to fashion and to society: the acceptance of the different.


Valeria Boi, London