What Artists Wear

Arvida Byström Has Faith In AI — Even When Most Don't

Byström sits down to talk about signature styles, the effects of cognitive tech on art, and Baudelaire.


What Artist's Wear is a monthly column that features artists, designers, and makers and explores how they think about getting dressed.

“Tech” and “style” have never been particularly congruous, perhaps conjuring images of Valley bros sporting Patagonia, plain gray tees and Allbirds, or blue ties á la Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearing. Tech fashion feels male and as sterile as a freshly unboxed Apple laptop.

Swedish photographer and visual artist Arvida Byström flips this trope startlingly on its head. From her earliest self-portraits posted on blogs and Tumblr, she has consistently deployed a highly distinctive and hyperfeminine aesthetic, which she has used to explore the social implications of tech.

Byström is easy to spot when I meet her outside my Lower East Side apartment building. She’s dressed in a floor-length pink coat and lugging two matching suitcases, one of which contains the head of her off-the-shelf AI sex doll, Harmony, which (who?) has featured heavily in several of her performance pieces during the past year. After a photo session on the roof, we settled down in my apartment for an extended talk.

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