Our world is divided by borders. While some are famous for their walls and checkpoints, others impact everyday civic life in invisible ways. Invisiborders was designed to engage wearers with these borders -- the first iteration being a jacket which lights up upon crossing a border. This project was inspired by the practice of gerrymandering in the United States, wherein legislative borders are redrawn in order to benefit one political party over another. Many such borders go invisible in daily life, despite their contentious origins and outsize impact on political action. Initially tested with school district borders, Invisiborders is now being deployed at sites of contestation across the country.
Results from the initial user study led to a theory of wearable politics, which goes beyond merely wearing one's politics on one's sleeve, to contextualize an embodied engagement with political phenomena and associated active reflection on the part of the user. Wearable politics is inherently social, going beyond personal embodiment of abstract processes to also express that embodiment for the provocation of others and the self. Invisiborders enacts wearable politics in intimate and social encounters, in its many different forms. The next phase of Invisiborders seeks to understand these forms and deploy Invisiborders in sites of contestation across America.
Invisiborders was created by Kyle Barnes, an undergraduate studying computer science at Princeton University. It was originally presented as a Work in Progress at the ACM Designing Interactive Systems conference in Eindhoven on July 6-20, 2020.