Proposals for contemporary chastity belts.

Started on 08/03/2004

“Do some wearable technology…" Royal College of Art brief

Medieval chastity belts are perceived by many to be objects of power and control, comparable to shackles, and are an indication of the then view of infidelity. They represent an attempt to solve a problem from a medieval perspective; by the physical barriers of steel and simple mechanical engineering. It is not well known that women would often volunteer to wear these belts as a pledge of their fidelity to their husband and/or for fear of sexual assault.

The following are four proposals for devices that experiment with the notion of contemporary chastity belts: Where(a)ware, Time(a)ware, Snap(a)ware, and Narc(a)ware

As sexual, social and emotional power-balances flux, these devices embody an evolution from the medieval perspective: exploring various sensing and network technologies, rather than physical obstruction, in order to make people re-appraise their social/sexual behaviour.

Some of these devices are intended to be worn by people who are aware of their function; others provide opportunity for clandestine surveillance by jealous, concerned, or paranoid people. These networked objects have a rudimentary awareness of certain things and can make other people and objects aware of what they sense. Many of them are able to alert people of certain events; by sending text messages, emails, taking photos, etc.

“They know how long you’ve been…"

2 minute Where(a)wear video.
Where(a)ware undergarments are aware of their geographical position they can only be safely removed in certain locations, otherwise – ALERT!
Soundtrack credit: Squarepusher – “My Red Hot Car"

“They know how long you’ve been…"

1 minute Time(a)ware video.
Time(a)ware undergarments are aware of the amount of time that they have been pulled down or off. If this time exceeds the length of the average toilet trip – ALERT!
Soundtrack credit: Living The Blues – “Good Morning Judge"

“They know how long you’ve been…"

1 minute Snap(a)ware video.
Snap(a)ware undergarments are aware of the moment that they are removed, they take a photo when exposed to the light.
Soundtrack credit: Living The Blues – “Good Morning Judge"

“They know when you’ve had too much…"

Narc(a)ware video (30 secs).
Narc(a)ware undergarments are aware of chemical instances and levels of toxic substances in the blood, sweat and bodily fluids of their users; (alcohol, rohypnol, ghb, etc.) if these levels rise too high – ALERT!
Soundtrack credit: DJ Shadow – “Mashin’ on The Motorway"