DoubleBind at AS220 Providence, RI, 2019 PHOTO Chris Anderson

Times and locations TBA

DoubleBind is a wearable media project that examines the intersections between place, identity and activism through a hooded sweatshirt connected to Twitter. The piece is designed to be worn in two ways—with the hood covering your head, or zipped into a collar around your neck. Tweets will be generated in your personal account based on where and how it is used, affecting your social identity in both physical and virtual environments.

In psychology, a ‘double bind’ refers to a set of two conflicting demands, where neither demand can be met without sacrificing the other. Following the death of Trayvon Martin, the hooded sweatshirt gained a new social legibility. While thousands of people wore hooded sweatshirts as a form of protest, the duality of the garment suggests different meanings and contexts depending on the race of the wearer and the area it is worn. This duality (where legibility is affected by identity, location and context) places users in a performative situation where the choice of how to wear the piece is complicated through the knowledge that your choice is visible to your social network.

The timing of the tweets will be based on the proximity of the user to hotspots generated from municipal data, such as the locations of community centres, retail locations, rental properties and Airbnb rentals. The content of the tweets will draw from both historical and contemporary dialogues on race, place and systems of power. In ‘hoodie state’, the tweets will also include the user’s location.

DoubleBind was produced through the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council. Technical assistance provided by Ranjit Bhatnagar and Annie Fraser Smith.

Jessica Thompson is a media artist working in sound, performance and mobile technologies. Her practice investigates the ways that sound reveals spatial and social conditions within cities, and how the creative use of urban data can generate new modes of citizen engagement. Her work has shown in festivals such as ISEA (San Jose, Dubai, Vancouver), Conflux Festival (New York), Thinking Metropolis (Copenhagen), (in)visible Cities (Winnipeg), Beyond/In Western New York (Buffalo), NIME (Oslo), Artists’ Walks (New York), Locus Sonus (Aix-en-Provence), the AGW Triennial (Windsor) and InterACTION (Kitchener). She is an Assistant Professor in Hybrid Practice at the University of Waterloo.