Proposal for Fourth Year Project
Fashion as a garment or a space is most intimately experienced through subjective wearing. Wearing is a peculiar enigma, reliant on experiencing space and the way in which it takes scope through its construction and boundaries. A person’s consciousness is commonly accepted to lie inside their body. Can a consciousness fill a garment, or transcend through a garment? One can say that “Dress lies at the margins of the body and marks the boundary between self and other, individual and society. This boundary is intimate and personal since our dress forms the visible envelop of the self and serves as a visual metaphor for identity.” (Entwistle, J. 2001) The phenomena of being and wearing bring up dualistic notions of form and consciousness; the imagined body / physical body, conscious being / corporeal being, interior self / exterior display, self / otherness. Can a fashion garment possibly reconcile or link these opposites?
I would like to investigate and explore the way a worn/experienced fashion space is determined through an idea of consciousness relating to body dualities. Fashion is based in space, a space which is worn/experienced. Wearing echoes embodiment as being encased in wearing. I plan to interrogate how and where consciousness and space meet in fashion? How is the space of a garment/instillation determined through an idea of consciousness around the body? How far does this consciousness diffuse and where is it lost? How does a garment reconcile dualities in the body and being through the wearing of a constructed space? How can the intimate practice of this enigma be shown?
My research has been based (thus far) in the writing of the Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard , The Fold by Giles Deleuze and also concepts of philosophers and fashion theorists placing their work in the understandings of phenomenology, namely those of Joanne Entwistle, Susanne Kozel and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
Drapery and in essence, its foldings, construct and hold space in a dynamic way that displays surface and depth, inside and outside, worn and shown. Folds are... “ transformations [which] convey the projection, on external space, of internal spaces defined by ‘hidden parameters’ and variables or singularities of potention” (Deleuze, G. 1993) Drapery shows the frictions and forces of wearing and looking. Why is folding a means of construction which seems to show dualities? Can the physical body transcend through drapery?
Other initial research areas have included the object of a curtain and its use in fashion precedents. The curtain is an expanse of material which acts as a border, much like a garment, experienced from point of view and display. It is an object based in foldings and drapery. In the context of Deleuze I have been looking at drapery as a metaphor for when two separates are one. Drapery is also an a construction method and surface, which can be read in the context of baroque statues and antiquity. Draping is a dynamic way of showing surface and depth, inside and outside, whats worn and whats shown in a garment.
Phenomenology can be used in looking at effective ways in exhibiting an experience. In essence it is "relate[ing] to how the act of hyper-reflection, where concepts begin to be elaborated in and through experience, is materialised into form. " (Kosel, S. 2007) How can phenomenology be applied in disseminating the experience of wear?
METHODS/APPROACH (tests and exploration)
Methods will entail a interrogative and explorative use of drapery. Research will be taken into forms that use drapery and fashion precedents that use these forms. Can drapery be constructed or systemized? How does one construct drape in pattern-making and can be commercially disseminated through pattern? Further exploration into devices that connect to the use of a fold and how these delineate space will be undertaken. How does unbroken expanse of textile form drape and how can this be organised to show body dualities and an objective sense or experience of embodiment?
I will also investigate ways of disseminating a fashion experience in ways other than form. Most probably through instruction or numbers. This brings up the notion of grading as a generative tool. Grading is a commercial fashion system which uses equations of space proportion to iterate a breadth of sizes. It is a way of controlling measurement of space for the appropriate form. Can a system of disproportionate grading inform the use of measurement, thus space in the design and construction of the collection? What size is my consciousness? How is the capacity of a consciousness held in a garment?
The use of drape implies a state of flux and a type of random, opportunistic behavior. This gives way to looking at the way interpretation of a garment takes place through wearing. Can a collection of garments heighten their wearers sense of awareness through subjective interpretation by the wearer or perhaps by a type of interrogation in the process of getting dressed.
Exploration into construction and design methods will be echoed with exploration into their display in an installation context. I will undertake testing into how a sense of intimacy and subjectivity is achieved through the wearing and display of space and how this transition from subjective to objective takes place.
Self reflection in wearing is an idea that interests me, and this happens in the process of getting dressed and also in the space of the change-room. The change room is an intimate place where the wearer is alone with their image pondering the phenomena of the garment abound their being. I would like to research the way this consciousness is created and if it can be revealed or shown. Can the space of wearing be shown through something other than the fabric of a garment? Perhaps a type of projection of imagery? Can you wear a consciousness?
The recordings and developments of my thoughts at their roughest and most preliminary phase will be recorded in a series of A5 journals. Weekly posts on my blog will show images, clips and texts which inform and document my development.
I will also document my process through the development of toiles, photographs and sketches of a more polished format collated in a A3 format with the inclusion of 3D patterns. I will undertake a series of tests in formats of display and dissemination of my work and possibly film these experiences. Film and projection is something I would like to further explore in an instillation, adding to the display of surface and depth.
OUTCOMES (experience and dissemination)
The collection will take form in a collection, most probably a series of garments. The garments may be experienced somewhere between and incorporating both objective viewing and personal wearing. How you integrate these two opposites in dissemination being a main concern of the project. How do you display garments in a way when viewed and worn give a heightened sense of the way a garment takes up space around a body and in the greater space of a room? Any extraneous communication other than garments or display which may photography, film, or catalogue will be used in way to further communicate ideas of phenomenological wearing.
In essence I hope the garments further communicate a sense of wearing to their viewers and the type of self-reflection and awearness that comes with wearing. This may be done through a type of participation from the viewer in wearing, of a garment, of a space, or a consciousness.