Magical shoes that combine the latest technology designed to take the wearer home with the traditional shoemaking skills that Northampton is famous for are to go on display at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery from 16th October.
The shoes have been created by acclaimed British designer and artist Dominic Wilcox who was inspired by Dorothy’s ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz. Called ‘No Place Like Home’ the shoes use GPS technology to guide the wearer to their required destination.
After uploading a destination to the shoes via a laptop and USB cable, a GPS sensor embedded within the left shoe is activated by a heel click. A circle of brogue perforations reveal LEDs that light up to indicate which direction the wearer should take. The right shoe indicates distance travelled, with a progress bar of red LED lights that illuminate as the wearer gets closer to their target. Wilcox’s signature cartoon style adorns the leather soles of the shoes.
Since being exhibited at KK Outlet in Hoxton as part of the London Design Festival, the shoes have gone global featuring on over 60 news and technology related websites internationally including NBC News, ABC News, NY Times, Discovery World websites in the USA, the Times of India and other Australian websites.
The shoes were made to Wilcox’s specific design by traditional Northampton-based shoemaker Nicholas Cooper of Stamp Shoes, based at the University of Northampton’s Portfolio Centre, and interactive art technologist Becky Stewart.
Dominic Wilcox said “My work is all about reimaging uses for objects, and the relationships that exist between things. I hope my GPS shoes will reconnect people to the craftsmanship inherent in shoe-making, but also stretch the boundaries of potential for the industry. ”
Graham Callister of Northampton County Council, organiser of the GLOBAL FOOTPRINT project, said “We were immediately impressed by Dominic’s work, and were delighted to commission the No Place Like Home piece. The shoes are not only incredibly exciting, the craftsmanship is wonderful and we can’t wait to exhibit them as part of GLOBAL FOOTPRINT.”
The shoes will be exhibited at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery alongside shoes from Nicholas Cooper from 16 October to 18 November. Opening times are Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 2pm to 5pm. Admission is free and refreshments are available.