There’s a mystical mood in the cultural corners of London as technology and science are blending with alchemy and experimentalism.
During LFW I found myself having my aura tested in a pop-up boutique by science and design studio The Unseen. Founded by alchemist Lauren Bowker, who specializes in colour-changing inks that react to weather or external environments, The Unseen has just opened a permanent retail emporium at Somerset House. The witchcraft themed space houses one room for The Unseen’s new ink-treated product range, The Artefacts, that includes leather notebooks, a quill and candles that react to touch and temperature. The other room is a ‘bodily library where visitors can be fully immersed in knowledge’ and sample the collective’s unorthodox approach to merging scientific innovation and material craft.
For LFW The Unseen collaborated with augmented technology retail experts, Holition for an experiential installation called Eighth Sense. Central to the experience is biodata read through an EEG device that is translated visually onto The Unseen’s latest couture creation – all controlled by an app built by Holiton.
The physical conduit is a bespoke ceramic sculpture that resembles something between a cobra’s head and an armadillo and is covered in Bowker’s trademark ink. When the wearer’s aura and magnetic levels are read the sculpture slowly changes colour and responds depending on the wearer’s live data feed, showing emotions and electromagnetic energy in a rainbow spectrum. ‘For instance, red portrays anger, nerves and anxiety, whereas green reflects teaching, sociality and people, blue reveals calming thruthfulness and peace, while white mirrors and inner state of sensitivity, intuitiveness and psychic ability,’ says Bowker.
Suffice to say my reading featured a lot of green, a touch of purple and oranges that turned from gold to white. The sculpture takes the wearer’s reading in full after 10 minutes wearing the barely there EEG headpiece, but it takes a full 90 minutes for each aura to be expelled, once the results have appeared and intensified.
The by-appointment aura-reading service is free and bookable online via The Unseen Emporium. The emporium also showcases the studio’s previous works and processes including AIR – a trio of intricate leather pieces treated with wind and heat reactive ink, as well as TheUnseenSwarovski – a collaborative headpiece that features thousands of Swarovski gemstones that map brain activity.
* The Unseen Emporium is a clever mix of commerciality from creative, explorative pursuits. By producing EighthSense, the studio has found a way to harness consumers’ desire for individuality and tap into the current trend for alchemy, adding a touch of the occult while managing to merge our physical and digital worlds.