They're potentially two of the most COVID-safe outfits you could wear and they will be on show on Friday night.
The two wearable art pieces, which are the embodiment of social distancing, were designed by Katy Mutton for a presentation at an event at Drill Hall as part of public art festival Contour556.
One half of the project that Mutton has dubbed Panopticon is the Space and Light Gown thatphysically keeps people at a distance with its large hoop skirt as well as sensors that cause the dress' inbuilt lighting system to flash when people get too closer.
Panopticon's other garment, Space and Light Jacket, uses a similar in-built sensor system that connects to speakers that play a soundscape, composed by Canberra musician Chris Endrey when people get to close.
In both pieces Mutton, with the help of fellow artists Stedman Watts and Brian McNamara, has integrated 3D printed 'fabrics' that imitate scales with the technology components.
"Masks are everywhere at the moment and they're are a really clear symbol of COVID, but there are other ways to demonstrate that you don't want someone near you or that you're trying to stay away from people," Mutton said.
"The dress is very much about the message given through light and the physicality, whereas the jacket is much more about the discomfort of audio. Instead of having a physical barrier keeping you away, you're going to get into his space and as you get closer to him the sounds are going to increase.
"There's also an alarm button the wearer can push so if you got into his face and he was feeling extra uncomfortable, he can also switch on an alarm."
While COVID-19 has influenced the outcome of these two pieces so heavily, the beginning of Panopticon actually began 18 months ago with the intention of the pieces being a tool for counter-surveillance movements.
The name itself is taken from a disciplinary concept, where a central observation tower placed within a circle of jail cells. From the tower, a guard can see every cell and inmate, but the prisoners can't see into the tower. As such, the inmates will never know whether or not they are being watched and therefore adapt their actions because of it.
Mutton's work, however, envisions a form of technological utopianism, where the population arm themselves against invasive surveillance from corporations and governments by donning their outerwear.
The onset of COVID-19 added to this concept by getting the garments to directly focus on the privacy issues surrounding the pandemic, most particularly on citizens' rights to privacy.
"I wanted to develop these works that were to do with anti-surveillance," Mutton said.
"I'm interested in how people can hide themselves from surveillance. Now clearly these works, you're not going to be able to hide in them, but it's more about a discussion point with this work.
"Because of COVID it's evolved a lot since those initial ideas, and probably these two pieces are more to do with social distance and feeling safe, and having a perimeter."
- Panopticon will be on show at Drill Hall Gallery on Friday from 6pm. To register for the free event, go to Eventbrite.