Interrogating the notion of 'frock consciousness' through the practice of dressing and responding to dressed bodies
Within my practice as an artist that draws upon my professional experience as a fashion stylist, I have undertaken a broad range of practice-based projects in the last thirteen years that deal with the identity and dress. This exposition seeks to use Virginia Woolf’s notion of frock consciousness as a framework to demonstrate how each of the projects has contributed to a body of research that has enabled me to make a contribution to knowledge in terms of how the practice of dressing ourselves impacts upon one’s consciousness and experience of being in the world. Lisa Cohen in her essay "Frock Consciousness”: Virginia Woolf, the Open Secret, and the Language of Fashion (1999) reminds us that, whilst the idea of frock consciousness discussed by Woolf in her diary of 1925 might at first appear to be an oxymoron, one word concerned with coverings and the other a quality of mind, clothes “lie between what we understand to be public space (the social world at large), and what we consider private (the body of an individual)” (150:1999).
Breathing into the Ecological Trauma: The Case of Gruinard Island
With the performative investigation of Gruinard Island, Scotland, an exemplary non-site of anthropocenic extinction, this research exposition aims for alternative ways of encountering space in the midst of the present ecological crisis. The research exposition suggests an inclusive way of breathing, thinking, and living that merges “with experience, art, ethics, technology, mysticism, science, etc.” (François Laruelle: Principles of Non-Philosophy).
Facing our own imminent extinction, ecological thought can no longer fall back on ideologies toward-death but has to investigate how the immediacy of our planetary all can be encountered in the fullness of its ambivalence. With this affirmative approach, a feminine, birthing approach unfolds, that makes the otherness of the environment an ally for forging practices of vibrant becoming, political responsibility, and mutual trust.
Walking the Newsroom: Towards a Sensory Experience of Journalism
Sander Hölsgens, Saskia de Wildt, Tamara Witschge
We invite you to join us on a walk through the newsroom of a regional newspaper, Dagblad van het Noorden. We trace how the journalists perceive, articulate, engage, embrace, challenge, are receptive to, and give form to the ‘atmospheres’ of their workspace. The concept of atmospheres is central in how we have looked at the newsroom. On this walk, we explore the spatial, socio-cultural, rhythmic, tonal, and somatic characteristics of the recently redesigned newsroom, using video, sound, text, and drawing. Employing artistic methods, we want to let you experience this newsroom together with us – giving you insight into the journalists’ lived experience of their profession as fundamentally interwoven with the idiosyncrasies of their workspace.
Our host on the walk is online news editor Alfred Meester. Alfred walked us, Saskia and Sander, through the newsroom, which we visited as part of the project Exploring Journalism’s Limits (funded by the Dutch Research Council, NWO, project number: 314-99-205). Also joining us on this day is Ricky Booms, a visual artist invited to reflect on the space alongside us. Along the way, we encounter visual editors, interns, freelancers, editorial staff writers, and learn about the kinds of spaces that resonate with them.
The walk takes approximately 45 minutes.
Walking with Soldiers: How I learned to stop worrying and love cadets
“Walking with Soldiers” examines an auto-ethnographic moment of marching across the city of Helsinki with first-year cadets of the Finnish National Defence University. In a reparative reading, the walk dismantles boundaries of bodies, critiques, and affects. Through a walking methodology and autoethnography, the present exposition demonstrates how the author began orienteering within military structures through an affective investment. The exposition is a researcher’s journey across subjectivities and difference in a female civilian body. Epistemologically, it brings theory closer to the skin; and empirically, it offers insight into the affective world of belonging. “Walking with Soldiers” is multimodal and polyphonic: it consists of a text for reading, three audio tracks for listening and co-walking, as well as illustrations created by Julia Järvelä based on photographs taken by the author. The provided materials can be selectively attended to. The artistic technique used in the exposition is seduction: the reader/listener is invited into an experience. The exposition is a conversation between critical military studies and artistic research: it gives artistic attention to a military march and places importance on the acoustic and vibrating qualities of academic research. The writing itself subverts the practice of authoritative scholarly writing by presenting descriptive work as theoretical work, and by using citations as companions from the outside.
Everything That Shines Sees: Flash Light, Photography and the Acheiropoietic.
This exposition takes a close look at the concepts of self-origination and mediation for a better understanding of the photographic image engendered by a flash of light and its natural radiation. Starting from my own artistic experiments with fulguric and cosmic rays, performed in cooperation with a lightning simulation lab in Oxfordshire (UK) and with the nuclear research centre CERN in Geneva (Switzerland), it puts forward a speculative approach that looks beyond static and traditional assumptions about what it entails to 'be photographic'. Through the exploration of the creative role fulfilled by a sudden burst of light across different time periods and different manifestations (fulgurites, imprints, photograms, sound), focus is laid on the part the acheiropoieton can play in this revitalized apprehension of the photograph as a technical image and of the agencies involved in its mediation. The research projects discussed thus aim to foreground the involvement of nonhuman contributors in the formation of contemporary images and their epistemology as a possible way to re-think perception in a time increasingly shaped by a reliance on (artificially induced) visibility.