Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Dirt and Dresses

For my latest paper in Art and Design at uni we have been charged with a space that is now relatively forgotten and we have to find ways in which to interact with the space and to record the passing of time within it. I've thankfully managed to get graffiti alley which is in central Wellington and therefore it only takes me about ten minutes to get there. However, due to the fact New Zealand is hosting the rugby world cup this year. Both the council and the government have decided to "cleanup the streets," understandable? Sure, when it's taking all the empty chip packets off the sidewalk. But, alas they have decided to do away with any public self-expression! The history of graffiti alley isn't ancient, but it is a valued site by tourists, residents, artists, drunks and teenagers. A solid representation of expression, identity, perhaps anarchy, although beautiful nonetheless.  

From the old Left Bank blog.
See here.

I Have been assigned this space just at this seemingly inconvenient time, despite this I have found that I am now more able than I perhaps was before to make a statement with my project. My idea is to capture this restriction of self-expression by using fashion, as I am majoring in fashion. My piece, which has just hit it's mock up stage uses a dress to represent the alley starting out clean, neat and tidy but slowly getting covered with dirt and paint. (My gorgeous friend Keber gets to model and have paint thrown at her!) Before getting covered up and chained.  

When I came up with these ideas, I wasn't particularly thinking about what I was doing, and then my teacher asked why I had chosen performance design and yadda, yadda, yadda. Before I was informed of my apparent decision I don't think that I'd ever really heard of performance design before. But since then I have done some research into it, and I have found something that I can really appreciate, maybe that's why I love fashion so much, because wearing the clothes and showing the clothes is a performance in itself, that can be both beautiful while making a statement about social issues or historic events.  
A couple of performance pieces I really like I have posted below this first is a piece by Yoko Ono in 1965 where she sat on the stage and asked for the audience to come up and cut at her clothes. I find this to be very beautiful and a strong feminist statement at the same time. When Ono preformed this it was done in silence but some douche has overlaid music. However I fully recommend that you watch it.

The other piece of performance design that I want to share with you is actually done by my fashion lecturer Catherine Bagnall. She wears huge, bulky old-fashioned wedding dresses and ball gowns tramping / hiking and records how the weather and conditions affect the fabric and how the huge mass of fabric effects her journey. You can find a really good article on it at and lots more photos of her work there as well.


Well thats all for tonight, it's 12.15am over here and I've got to get up for art and design tomorrow morning, wish me luck!

Lots of Love
               Audrey Megan

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