I have a bit of a head start on one of my new years goals. I’ve already started making a companion dress to the project I finished almost two years ago.
It’s still in the very early stages yet and I tend not to sketch out what the finished object will be until later when I’m working out the details and finishing. Anyway, here’s a preview of what I’ve finished so far.
I’m looking for it to be as ghost-like and ephemeral as the original dress. I like the web-related projects to be both seen and seen through, there and not there, delicate, and above all, subtle.
The hardest part, to me, is the finishing and displaying of the object. A painting, obviously needs a frame, but how do you display a dress that is meant to be seen from all sides?
So, it’s finished. All the millions of loose ends are tucked in, all the bits are added, washed and dried and ready to go. Or not. It looks like a skin that’d been shed, kind of like the snake skins you find behind bushes or caught on nails in attics.
But can you ever really shed your skin? Metaphorically, of course. Can you leave it behind? and do you even want to? Is it a trap? or is it like your non-metaphorical skin, protecting you (from what)?
Is it keeping you still or providing a foundation to move forward? Is it a construction you made out of fear of the outside world or in spite of it? Is it what you want?
I worked fairly steadily on The Dress for the past month or so achieving a great amount (it’s nearly one piece) and achieving the complete inability to look at the thing in the near future.
I still haven’t come up with a proper title for it, but The Dress is beginning to fit nicely both in terms of my rampant usage of the term (for lack of a better one) and its massive scale in terms of a project (The dress to end all dresses?).
The main idea behind the dress has to do with ambiguity. Is it a spider’s web that entraps you or is it like the net below a trapeze artist to catch you if you fall? It’s an idea I’ve been interested in since moving countries and not being able to bring my friends or my family with me which on one hand is incredibly disorientating and on the other lends a sense of freedom.
This idea is also explore beautifully in The Unbearable Lightness of Being where the relationship between Tomas and Tereza and Tomas’ lover Sabina wherein Tomas is an incurable womaniser, always wondering about the next woman but is married to Tereza. Tereza can think only of Tomas, but Sabina always remains unattached. It explores basically the pros and cons of each of the three people’s lives in a quasi-scientific, detached way. It’s title comes from the discussion of lightness or freedom of being unattached and not responsible for another person, while at the same time this lightness can be unbearable for not being attached to anyone. It’s oddly moving for its style and backdrop of the communist revolution.
There’s an innate ambiguity in security and being safe. A prison can be safe and secure as well as life. A relationship can exemplify this idea just as easily.
The method of production has centered on what one artist at Raven Row described as the ‘awkwardness of production.’ The very fact that it’s difficult, annoying, inefficient, yet enjoyable is the point of the means of production. It wouldn’t have the impact or be what I want it to be if I used a machine or even larger needles or any method to make my life a whole lot easier (sigh). Making this has been a mediation on its production both materialistically and intellectually.
Cue rampant apologies for failing to write more often and half-hearted promises to write more blah blah blah.
Anyway, I’ve been busy! My friend from home visited for two weeks and I showed him around (mostly the pubs). Then I’ve begun the great Job Hunt 2011 (nothing yet, but somewhat promising despite my visa status and the apparent worthlessness of having two degree with only some experience.)
Oh and the art stuff, the web is up at Inventory Studio (pictures to follow when I get my butt to Whitechapel), the web dress is almost in one piece and I’m getting excited for new projects.
What I really wanted to share, I have a new, official, professional? website. It has the older projects uploaded and will have the dress pictures up shortly.
I built it using Indexhibit which requires some knowledge of website building, if you want to customise it which is fairly necessary as the plain one looks like one of those websites from the late ’90’s. After customisation, adding content is super easy and works much like WordPress posts. You chose a title for a ‘project’ and then can insert a description and as far as I know, as many photos as you want.
Anyway, check it out until the next post at some vague point in future.
My friend Lenny, who you mind remember from the last post, and I have been collaborating on a web-y project. Born from a lot of gin and tonics in July, a large web, fashion-related installation. It’s evolved into the web dress (name still in progress). I have some sketches that I’ll post when I get braver/ get a scanner/ learn to take good macro photos.
This dress will be worn by me in photographs exhibiting the following qualities: ambiguity, trapped, grounded, questioning, escape, comfort…. It’s exploring the question of whether you’re trapped by things that hold you down or whether you’re grounded and made safe by it. To which I would suggest reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being for a further and more eloquent exploration of this theme.
So far I have worked on the basic bodice of the dress and some loosely crocheted ‘shawls’ to drape, among other things, onto the bodice.
These elements will intertwine and be interchangeable to change the feeling of the finished photographs. Stay tuned!