I designed and fabricated the dress for Vira Shao to wear to Burning Man 2018. Burning Man’s mission statement is to bring experiences to people in grand, awe-inspiring and joyful ways that lift the human spirit, address social problems and inspire a sense of culture, community and personal engagement.

The theme of Burning Man 2018 is I, Robot

We invite participants to use their native genius to create expressive robots of all kinds. We also welcome art that examines how it feels to live in a world that is filled with robots that watch us, track us, hack us, read our tweets and emails, listen to our phone calls, and sell this information to other robots.


In response to the theme of BM18, I designed a white dress with detachable components to be gifted away. As the week progresses, the dress will get dirty and disintegrate, and become a record of the experience through its decay. Plastic pieces have been lasercut, painted and attached to the dress with the intent that the paint will chip and flake off throughout the week.

The thorns on the dress represent how we respond to invasion and changes in privacy and our data. By gifting away the plastic pieces, we draw a parallel between the choice to reveal or protect ourselves from other humans and examine how intimacy and trust develop. 

On la playa, temperatures range from 40°F to 100°F+ with high winds, lightning, rain and dust storms. Since the elements fluctuate drastically, I designed the dress in three pieces that can be worn individually or layered depending on Vira’s comfort and activity. 


  • paper prototypes for interlocking mechanism
  • lasercut tests
  • fabric to plastic attachment tests 
  • sewing & fitting 
  • heatgun to distort plastic thorns


Updates to come after Vira returns from Burning Man