That aural impairment is as old as hearing itself is evidenced by a Neolithic female skull unearthed by archaeologists in 1955. By itself, the skull would not be especially remarkable were it not for a prosthetic seashell ‘ear’ surgically implanted, and still seamlessly intact. Its purpose was not purely ornamental: the shell served as a functional conduit for vibration. This is implant and earring, ornament and augmentation: not yet bionic, but somehow presciently cyborg in its arrangement.
Like all new-borns, wearable technologies are invariably smooth, precious and pure. In an i-Device era, the consumer is hidden from the processes of making that lie beneath the surface of the technological sublime. In the world of high fashion, designers like Iris van Herpen are weaving technology into textiles within the usual stomping ground of the avant-garde haute couturier.