19 October 2021, from 17:45 – 21:00, check out the work of Gen. 30 participant @lala3xl during the OnLive festival. This student-initiated festival gives artists the opportunity to translate their digital work into a live performance or installation. The event focusses on intra-action and engagement within and between the parties and believe that it is this spontaneity and participation that makes ‘the live’ so exciting.
For her contribution, Lianca translated her digital poem ‘Gossiping clothes’ into an interactive installation.
“We often think we are alone, not being watched, but our clothes are always there to bear witness. Clothes know our secrets, but they also know the secrets of the industrial production process and how exploitative it is. The work invites people to leave their scandalous confessions in the pockets and folds of garments, but also subtly shines a light on some important social issues.”
Location: Studio 4, Onderlangs 9, Arnhem
Herewith my submission for the OnLIVE festival.
I am currently enrolled for a master’s in Critical Fashion Practices at ArtEZ in Arnhem. During my studies I wish to capture my love for the outdoors and movement within the context of fashion. I call this ongoing project #artletics – exposing knowledge with our bodies, clothes and art. To me, fashion has the restorative potential to undo what it has been complicit in and subvert an era of human exceptionalism.
The more I interact with clothes the more I realize that they have as story to tell. These items are so ubiquitous that we overlook that they might have agency. Yarn is spun from raw materials; it is soaked in chemicals and dyes. The textile travels to factories and are sewn into garments. Factory workers often work in less than favorable situations. The essence of their blood, sweat and tears seep into the garment. The garment, possibly sentient, absorbs this – a kind of genetic memory of discomfort and suffering is coded into the garment. The garment then travels over land and see from factory to store. By the time it reaches the shelves, it has seen the world.
Based on a complicated set of constructed values the clothes are then sold at a price. An inflated price if it has intrinsic value or pennies for ephemeral utility. We then wrap our bodies in clothes where they lie close to our skin. Whatever the garment has accumulated up to that point, tangible or intangible, are introduced into our eco-systems. We give little thought to the garments’ effects on our bodies.
Garments then rub against and move with us all day. We take them along on adventures and to social events. They absorb our sweat and sometimes our blood. Regardless of how you paint it, clothes know us intimately.
Maybe if we knew our clothes might be conscious, we wouldn’t throw them away. Maybe if we realized our clothes knew our secrets, we wouldn’t dispose of them so quickly.
For the OnLive festival, I would like to position myself as a diplomat moving between territories trying to capture and translate the intimate bidirectional relationship between our bodies and our clothes, and then visualizing this ‘communication’ in a performance. Translation to me means finding ways to draw attention to the latent potential and knowledge that can be revealed in things we have ‘othered’ and judged frivolous. Which insights are there to gain from climbing off our human-centric pedestal?
Get your juicy gossip here
Check what scandalous confessions people have left! Secrets, insecurities, and thoughts they don’t tell others but that clothes, which are always present on our bodies, knows about them.
The secrets could be anywhere. Pockets, seams, who knows. Touch and interact to discover some things you didn’t know.
Want to contribute? Leave your own secret.
Do you love fine silk rubbing against your genitals?
Do you shoplift socks?
Are you actually Batman? Not only Alfred but the Bat Suit knows.
It’s not all fun and games
Sure, it’s fun to think of all the mischief we have gotten up to in our clothes, but there is, unfortunately, an important part of clothing that is hidden and kept secrets from us.
The clothing manufacturing process is extremely exploitative. People work, essentially as slaves, for less than $5. They are subjected to unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Furthermore, the environment suffers massively from chemical run-offs and over-farming. Many ecosystems have been wiped out to produce both luxury and fast fashion.
Our (humans) superior model of existence doesn’t really exist but to subvert this reality we need to look at what is absent from our narratives. And one of those stories is the stories garments tell. They know how the water to produce the cotton they are spun from caused desertification. How the person stitching their seams together succumbed from overwork. The essence of their blood, sweat and tears seep into the garment. The garment, possibly sentient, absorbs this – a kind of genetic memory of discomfort and suffering is weaved into the garment. These negative whisps of imperceptible energy are flippantly carried into our lives as we race to procure the latest ‘It’ items. And with continuous overconsumption comes continuous strife. Intangible spectres of hardship and exploitation enter our lives until the burden of all that negativity gets too much and we dispose of the garments, so they can ‘pollute’ somewhere else. The world around us is filled with a negative aura crushing our souls.