Accepted paper:

Inside out or outside in: exploring alternative interpretations of wearing clothing on relationships between the world, body and mind.


Fiona Candy (University of Central Lancashire)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will draw on experimental creative practice to question widely held understandings of everyday clothing as inert enclosures of individual ‘identity’, by proposing their material surfaces as ‘permeable membranes’ or sensory ‘tissues’ that envelop and interconnect human organisms and their environments.

Paper long abstract:

A recent experiment by the author has involved documenting individuals' clothing practices over periods of days, and weeks with photography and video. Using digital manipulation techniques, such as overlay and levels of transparency, sequences were made that enabled images to fade into one another. This created layered, palimpsestic records through which past dressing could seep through into the physical present and back again. The digital format facilitated an 'archaeology of dressing' that uncovered the mutability of the dressed body and the daily transformations that normally go unseen, even by ourselves as we look in the mirror. The transparency of the cumulative photography made it possible to compare and contrast aesthetic details of clothing worn: such as structural changes in the form and volume of garment silhouette, the sites of seams and other detailing such as belts or pockets. Items worn for particular social events and environments such as a toweling robe after bathing in the private time and space of home; or an anorak worn for the outside, the cold wind and the rain, could merge and emerge through others to reveal the contrasting nature of materials and styles. The resulting imagery conveys ephemeral transitions that are blurred and in flux without defined edges. The permeability of materials is suggested along with their haptic affect. The author will reference the imagery to explore ways that clothed bodies are enveloped by clothing's 'sensual membranes' and connected via these 'agential tissues' to be in touch with others, and with the world.

panel WMW12
Surfaces: contesting boundaries between materials, mind and body