The Holy Dress

a lie detecting shock dress


The Holy Dress

The Holy Dress is a garment that punishes its wearer through an electric shock when a lie is told. The dress is a speculative design imagining what it would be like to wear electronically enhanced clothing to help you stick to your morals. Because it is too easy to lie to yourself, the dress will check on your lies for you. Although the dress punishes, wearing it is not a punishment, but rather a radical new way to train yourself to become a better person. In the Holy Dress technology takes over the function that religion used to have of helping us to live the right way.

The Holy Dress has a speech recognition system that constantly checks for lies. It guesses if you're lying through voice stress analysis, since vocal stress can be an indicator of untruthfulness. While you are talking the dress will light up, growing with intensity as the likelihood of a lie increases. Once the dress has determined it's heard a lie it will light up like lightning while it punishes you through an electric shock. The shock has two functions. On the one hand the punishment psychologically cleanses you of your sin, and helps you to forgive yourself, an action that is thought to be key to self-regulation. On the other hand it will train you to be truthful by making it unappealing to tell further lies.

Materials: LEDs, metal, fabric, hacked commercial lie detector, hacked electronic dog collar.

The Holy Dress was made in collaboration with:
Melissa Coleman
Leonie Smelt

Cinematography by Claudia Rocha
Video production by That Thing Productions