Fashion & Moving therapy workshop
This workshop seeks to create awareness of the invisible or absent forces in fashion. The industrial fashion process is extremely exploitative, and the injustices perpetrated might be affecting us in ways not immediately obvious but adversely impactful. Through a variety of movement and creative practices we study and interpret the physical and metaphysical properties of fashion. The movements are curated to evoke strong emotions and to expand our awareness beyond the logical mind and beyond the boundaries of the body. The knowledge communicated in this workshop is something that needs to be experienced rather than understood. The agency of the garments and the affect they manifest within the material and immaterial dimensions will be highlighted. We’ll discuss other-ing and thing-ing and hopefully start chipping away at the human-centric modal of existence. If all goes well participants will leave with a more emotional connection to their wardrobes.
The workshop discourse will reiterate Prof. Gregory Seigworth’s three assertions contextualizing ‘Affect’: Affect is:
- Point of intensity: Moment of contact in which there is some kind of intensity/ something shifts in your own understanding of the world.
- Line of variation: The moment of contact arrives in the midst of an ongoingness. The idea of a gradient of positive/negative intensities. Continuous line of variation (Deleuze/Spinoza). Not an isolated rapture.
- Plane of potential: Capacious potential around a wider set of relationships arrayed around a particular moment. Impersonal = field or contexts of this thing you’re feeling is within a much bigger field of potential. Object-world-perceptive-relationship.
The below activities can either be presented separately or as a whole. The workshops can be tailored to fit different formats and needs
Part 1: Material mindfulness
Participants will be asked to get comfortable on the floor with a piece of lightweight or translucent textile covering their entire bodies. This mindfulness session is on material/fabric exploration. Instead of reflecting inward like in a normal mindfulness session, the intent for this session is to reflect outward, activate your senses and become aware of the textile on your body. While participants relax on the floor with the textile on them the facilitator will lead them in a material mindfulness meditation, topics from the list below could be covered.
Possible topics to meditate on:
- Stories about how clothes make us feel and what milestones they symbolize. But have we considered the steps leading to the creation of each garment? Are they positive or negative?
- Self-actualization. I’m not my best self. Can’t live up to society. Why is that? And is there a deeper dimension to it?
- Why are we sometimes so negative about the clothes we own? Even with a whole wardrobe of clothes sometimes we feel this crushing weight from our wardrobe.
- How many of you love your wardrobe? Who feels they have nothing to wear?
- Mental magnifying class. If you could zoom in on your clothes, the textile, weave and treads, what would you see?
- Our garments might carry traces of negative energy from destructive practices from condoning exploitation in the industrial fashion process. These wisps of trauma are ushered into our life through our buying habits. your life. How does it affect your life?
- The conscious wardrobe: think about the lived experience of your garment.
- Talk about skin membrane and how our skin absorbs, erodes and evolves based on the things we put on it.
- Cultivating openness, if you reprogram your mind, you can literally start seeing the world differently. Stop locking yourself into an echo chamber and become open to other cosmologies.
- Your tears, sweat, energy become part of the garment. If you throw it away, your DNA goes everywhere!
- We are careful what we eat, why are we not careful what we wear?
Part 2: Mapping moods
After the meditation (or any other activity), participants will be asked to give feedback on their experiences. The activities and the mapping will try to conflate traditional sensing and synesthetic perception to elevate the unseen, untold, uncharted, unfelt. All their feedback will be captured on textile with paint, markers, embroidery etc and be turned into garments (if they aren’t already one). It will be captured in words, moods, colours etc.
Possible things to map:
- What sound do your clothes make? Is there a specific onomatopoeia?
- What would you see if you could see with your skin? Taste with your fingers?
- What language would clothes speak?
- What modality will they use to communicate?
- Make a list of things that tickle the senses
- What part of the body was activated?
- What shape or colour did you see?
- How would you read your clothes, what would you use?
Part 3: Moving meditation
This meditation is a fast, intense and a thorough way to break old, ingrained patterns. For this part, we perform the exercises using the framework for the Laban Movement Analysis. Please check them here. Energy is all around us and how we interact with and manage that energy is important. Let’s liberate the body and the mind. Let’s start breaking down mental and physical barriers.
Part 4: Magic memories
Clothing is a time capsule, and in your clothes lie traces of your life. For this activity participants will be asked to bring an item of clothing with them, perhaps one in which they tried something new or stepped outside their comfort zone in. They will reenact some memories with the garment and even create a performance of their own if they want. The aim is to make participants think about what I title the ‘materialverse’, a universe where clothes have anthropomorphic qualities.
Potential things to enact/ponder:
- Can you think of a memory you had in this garment? How did you feel that day? Did the garment have an effect on your feeling?
- Listen to your clothes. If they could talk, what do you think they were aware of that you weren’t? What memories do they have? What are the emotions that they have?
- If this garment could tell a story about you, what would it say?
- Write down a list of other things you can do with your garment beyond just wearing it.
- Write a thank you note to your garment.
- What is being activated or stimulated in you as you ponder these questions?
- Prof. Gregory Seigworth, a professor of communication studies in the department of communication and theatre at the Millersville University, explains his take on ‘Affect’ in an interview on ‘What is Affect Theory’ on the Let’s Talk about Art and Culture YouTube series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuKIqF72Bwo