"Repair wouldn't be necessary if things never broke, never frayed, never splintered or fell to pieces—or if we didn't care that they did" - Elizabeth Spelman, Repair: The impulse to restore in a fragile world
It is the end of week 6, and I feel like I am still not quite getting anywhere near the crux of my thesis, I am reading different literature to try ease me into a topic.
I came to a simple and personal realisation today; that my final thesis and its pre-ocuppations are very much attuned to my current state of being. Perhaps I realised this sub-consciously, but it only became clear that when I am looking at mending and alterations in garments, I am thinking about caring and repairing. While it is unnecessary to go in depth with this, I have been on an emotional journey towards facing experiences from my past that I wish to recover and mend. I now realise why I am drawn to this topic, and now I have to contextualise this theme within the larger frame of my Masters and relate it to curating fashion. While there is a fashion history and theoretical understanding needed, I have to think about my intentions as a fashion curator and what I am trying to achieve by focusing on mending and altering in fashion. Who am I as a curator and what drives me, what kind of exhibitions do I want to curate and why? These are big questions, and I am overwhelmed and proceed timidly, a crooked stitch at a time. Although I spent the first 2 semesters thinking about this, I have still not come to a conclusion that satisfies me.
Literature List for the week:
1. Bond, S. DeSilvey, C. & Ryan, J.R. (2013) Visible Mending: Everyday repairs in the South West, Cornwall: Uniformbooks
2. Vestoj: On Slowness
3. Adam Phillips: On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored
4. Kate Fletcher, Matilda Tham: The Routledge Handbook on Sustainability
Time, slowness, mending, repairing
The different books have been feeding different parts of my research. Vestoj's issue on Slowness gave me an academic and poetic look at the theme of slowness, which I think is one of the main ideas on slow fashion and the very act of repair and mending deals with slowing down, both the damage as well as our attention when it is directed at the object of repair. I began to have words and phrases that could help me in thinking about the design elements of my exhibition and possible objects: unfinished, incomplete, unfinished garments (I recalled an incomplete mutton sleeve I had seen at the V&A which was shown by itself on a mannequin), altered garments, mended garments, is it leading to slowing down as we meet death? How to get the audience to complete garments when they enter the exhibition? Does this happen naturally when we show incomplete objects? Do we automatically try to fill in the blanks?
Adam Phillips explores being bored through psychoanalytic theory; this relates to slowness as we associate being bored with time stretching beyond it's usual length.
I am not doing very well in managing my time with work and research. I went for a mentoring session today, and one of the key takeaways was about managing conflict. So in the spirit of conflict-management, I shall list the 'conflicts' that I am facing right now in the path to my thesis.
1. I don't know what type of exhibition I am making
- reflect on the type of exhibitions that moved me, or that interested me
2. I do not know what exactly I am looking at
-read more and continue to journal daily
3. I do not know what I want my audience to take away
-list down possible audience reactions to exhibitions
(today someone told me they felt special when they saw the McQueen exhibition)
4. I do not have time to think about my work because I am working for $
- be strict with a time-table
So I will check back on these issues next week and see if anything has been resolved.