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Artists make interactive art out of dresses

Brooklyn Daily

Artists Laura McMillian and Kristin Reger are inviting people to look up their skirts in a new fabric and steel art installation that demonstrates what’s really under women’s dresses.

The two women built five dresses out of fabric and mounted them on steel corsets, with each dress revealing a different world — a swamp, a cave, an ocean, hell, and outer space — for those curious enough to take a peek at the Textile Arts Center’s “Upskirt” exhibit in Gowanus.

McMillian said the dresses were inspired by the overlooked role of women in traditional settings.

“I was raised in the South and raised to do things that were expected of a housewife,” said McMillian. “The project is about how ‘women’s work’ such as sewing is not considered important, but how important it really is, and the power that can be conveyed.”

Each of the dresses look the same from the outside, but during the exhibit, each dress will have a “gentleman” allowing spectators underneath the dresses one by one — to see the different worlds.

“The dresses are each installations unto themselves,” said McMillian. “They should give you the feeling that they are something you can interact with.”

McMillian and Reger received a grant through the Brooklyn Arts Council to create the dresses, which they have been working on for the past several months. While McMillian has experience with fashion design, Reger brought to the project an interest in textile and graphic design.

“We came into the same project from different angles. It’s big and crazy,” said Reger. “We run into issues and we work out the kinks and it’s ended up a lot different than we thought it would be when we started.”

“Upskirt” at Textile Arts Center [505 Carroll St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, (718) 369–0222,]. Through Dec. 21.

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