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2 or (3…) Questions for Ying Gao

MOCO LOCO is 10 years on the web this year, to mark the occasion this week we’re talking to designers from where we began, our home town of Montreal. Fashion designer, artist and university professor Ying Gao questions our assumptions about clothing by combining urban design, architecture and multimedia in her works.

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Photo: Dominique Lafond

She explores the construction of the garment, taking her inspiration from the transformations of the social and urban environment. We asked her about her latest project, “science is fiction”.

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Science is Fiction

MOCO: Tell us about your work right now…

Gao: I’m working on a capsule collection called “science is fiction” inspired by Jean Painleve’s documentaries. I’ve created the entire collection while spending my time last spring in the waiting room of a hospital watching his films on my laptop. I’m working with two medical materials; the first one is medical latex, and the second one is for burn patients, a cotton coated with silver.

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So you wanted to be in the hospital! What is it about Painlevé’s work that inspired this new project?

No I didn’t want to be there, I had to be there quite often last spring because of necessity, I had a minor health issue, and I had to find a way to ‘entertain’ myself while spending my time in the waiting room, which was actually a long corridor where you could see all kinds of patients with different medical conditions.

I’ve always loved Painleve’s documentary shorts, the way he observes and tells the story of the stickleback’s egg, the way he explains the similarities between length and speed is simply unique: delicate, precise, funny and surreal. I watched his DVD Science is Fiction over and over again in the waiting room, because somehow I felt like I was in the middle of a science documentary film myself.

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Tell us more about this collection. It isn’t interactive like the ones we’ve shown by you on MOCO LOCO before (seen here), or is it?

No, it’s not interactive, it’s more a ‘docu-fiction’ kind of capsule collection, made with medical materials. I don’t only work on intercative projects, although I’m better known for that.

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When and where would someone wear this collection? It is casual, formal?

I decided to work on my Science is Fiction because I simply wanted to tell the story about that period of my life when I was spending time in the waiting room at the hospital and watching Painleve’s films on my laptop, I thought this collection would suit anyone who wants to hear a story, or anyone who wants to tell a story.

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