From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

“The CharmingBurka sends a self-defined picture of the wearing person
to every mobile phone next to it. The project researches about clothes
with a digital layer that is different to their first optical

Project description

The Charming Burka deals with Freud’s idea that all clothes can be
positioned between appeal and shame. The Burka was chosen, because it
is often perceived in the west as a symbol of repression. A digital
layer was added so that women can decide for themselves where they
want to position themselves virtually. The Burka sends an image,
chosen by the wearer, via Bluetooth technology. Every person next to
her can receive her picture via mobile phone and see the women’s self-
determined identity. In the artists interpretation the virtual appeals
can not be gathered by the laws of the Koran and so the Charming Burka
fulfills the desire of living a more western life, which some Muslim
women have today.

Therefore the Burka is equipped with bluetooth antenna/micro-
controller and uses the OBEX protocol, already working with most
mobile phones.”


A project by Markus Kison
e-Mail: baisen[AT]


“Although the “Charming Burka” is positioned in the context of
religion, this project should be seen as a research towards the future
possibilities of everyday clothing to own a digital layer and transmit
additional information about its wearer. It questions which
information people would choose to send. For example this might also
be an image of their “Second Life” avatar.

Sponsor / technology

The prototype is realised with the bluetooth marketing solution
Bluebot ( developed by Haase & Martin, the mobile
marketing company in Dresden/Germany.

Seamless is a fashion event featuring innovative and experimental
works in computational apparel design, interactive clothing, and
technology-based fashion. This year more than 1000 visitors attended
the show in the Boston Museum of Science. Model Meiver De la Cruz
presented the Charming Burka on the catwalk while the audience could
receive the portrait of the model on their mobile phones.”

Saudi police ‘stopped’ fire rescue  /  15 March, 2002

Saudi Arabia’s religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a
blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress,
according to Saudi newspapers.

In a rare criticism of the kingdom’s powerful “mutaween” police, the
Saudi media has accused them of hindering attempts to save 15 girls
who died in the fire on Monday. About 800 pupils were inside the
school in the holy city of Mecca when the tragedy occurred.

According to the al-Eqtisadiah daily, firemen confronted police after
they tried to keep the girls inside because they were not wearing the
headscarves and abayas (black robes) required by the kingdom’s strict
interpretation of Islam.

One witness said he saw three policemen “beating young girls to
prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the
abaya”. The Saudi Gazette quoted witnesses as saying that the police –
known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of
Vice – had stopped men who tried to help the girls and warned “it is a
sinful to approach them”.

The father of one of the dead girls said that the school watchman even
refused to open the gates to let the girls out. “Lives could have been
saved had they not been stopped by members of the Commission for
Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” the newspaper concluded.

Relatives’ anger

Families of the victims have been incensed over the deaths. Most of
the victims were crushed in a stampede as they tried to flee the
blaze. The school was locked at the time of the fire – a usual
practice to ensure full segregation of the sexes.

The religious police are widely feared in Saudi Arabia. They roam the
streets enforcing dress codes and sex segregation, and ensuring
prayers are performed on time. Those who refuse to obey their orders
are often beaten and sometimes put in jail.

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