Janne Baetsen - We live in a dynamic and continually evolving landscape. The desired novelty of technology and highly-addicted trend cycle of Something New are rapidly speeding up the pace, creating a world where the only certainty seems to be uncertainty. As a result, the world, identity and DNA of fashion are changing as well. Although timeless descriptors such as quality, personality, style, comfort, beauty and elegance are still firmly linked to the notion of fashion (and luxury), a new framework of aspirations and values defines today’s meaning of fashion which is seemingly different to that of previous generations and perceptions.  


Entire businesses are now focussing and building on the capacity to read, collect and make connections within big data, obtained through study, measurement, tracking of people with both our consciously and unconsciously consent. More and more, computers and experts are taught through data to interpret human behaviour and our subjective state, and their capacity to judge as well as influence our feelings are growing. Our social (retail) environment as well as personalized tools such as smartphones are transforming into psychological questionnaire that we are continually providing with personal information and feedback. Ways of reading our mood, emotions, and actions are expanding rapidly, from Facebook, Alexa and face tracking to wearable technology, Artificial Intelligence and Google’s Virtual Assistant. Are we learning more and more to rely on technology (an external world) to tell us how we feel, instead of knowing how to read our own emotions and feelings, as well as those of others? 

Today’s heartbeat 

We all know the saying To love someone, you need to love yourself first. However, is it possible that, nowadays, you don’t know yourself that well anymore, but someone else (or a watch or app) can/will tell you? Are we losing our ability and consciousness to feel and share things ourselves, to think and speak for ourselves, to solve problems, to be creative, and to love … to technology (and the person still behind it)? What changed and why do we trust so many personal information and unique human skills to enter the digital world? 

Game, set, match? 

One thing is certain. The expansion of technology impacts everyday life and creates (digital) distraction and an information overload while step-by-step weaving itself into our everyday environment, our wearable (second) skin, our human skin and even our DNA. Although we definitely shouldn’t fear innovation and technology, our human capacity and relationship with technology as well as its possible long-term impact are topics that need our time, attention, consciousness and consideration just as much as our interest in its unlimited potential. Preferably, before we reach the point that our bodies' data are more trusted ways and methods of communication than our own words or feelings. Before we reach the point that algorithms and user interfaces unconsciously play into our expectations, persuasions and addictions, leaving us hooked: unknowingly unfulfilled and wanting more, relying on the next pulse directed by (the ones behind) technology.   

Back to Basic

Although we definitely shouldn’t lose the beauty and power of creativity and unexplained chemistry, our heart, body AND mind should be at the base of any solid and genuine connection. We need to find a balance, a healthy relationship between human nature and technology that focuses on an inclusive long-term connection instead of a short-term individual rush. Only then are we able to reach beyond third base…

I genuinely believe we can translate ones and zeros as well as our ‘fear’ for technology and change into a more powerful and multi-sensory language, dialogue and sustainable relationship with human nature by asking relevant (and ethical) questions and by stimulating collaborations and communication across disciplines, borders and structures.


Upcoming MIND-must see!

There are a lot of fascinating minds and inspiring exhibitions that address and challenge our relationship with technology. We have lined up a few highlights for you!

Science Gallery Melbourne: Perfection (with work of Adam Peacock) >>

Science Gallery London: HOOKED >>

A.Human, New York >>

V&A presents: Digital Design Weekend >>

Robot Love, Eindhoven >>

Janne BaetsenJanne Baetsen