Acts of Empathy

I was already crying before I got goes it for you? I don’t know what to do when the aggressor comes...I watch as they take up space, and change shape…I am learning to disappear...

Besides packing a man’s suit for the residency, I also brought with me the sum of parts of a previously unpicked suit jacket lining, specifically because I wanted to begin by creating a series of drawings. Drawing provides direction, and establishes a compass point, by using a deconstructed man's suit as my guide, I retrace the steps of another human being’s imaginings and thinking, I will follow their attention to detail; the shape; the form, and mapping the tailor's route, with my seam ripper and pencil, I will carefully navigate a reading around the question of, what is a man?.

The repetitive action of unpicking a man’s suit offers a method for tracking and reading a different kind of landscape, much in the same way that walking tracks the geographical landscape, as one foot follows the other. The suit is tightly stitched, it divides into four parts, the inner lining, the outer shell, the trousers, and the impenetrable pockets, which become a dysfunctional fascia of embellished seams, held together by layers of fragile interfacings and soft vulnerable cotton threads. Have you ever tried wearing one of these things? It feels like stepping into a cage fight with the self.

Why would we dream up this cage for our children?

Am I being unkind, or too simplistic in asking the question, what is a man? As if a man's tailored suit, is a garment worn by all men; I know, that it is not. But to ask this question does not only befall a challenge onto some of us, it falls upon all of us.

Engaging further with this transaction, I am imaginatively entering into a memory of construction, an engineering of meaning, and tentatively exploring what it may feel like to be a man. There are things that we do not always know about ourselves, and to be cast in roles by others, that are not of our own choosing or making, because of his/her/their story, seems like a weight for any body.


The tailor casts their mark across a landscape of warp and weft; what can be remembered, imagined or read? 


For days they remained by my side, these little threads, as I cut through their seams. Sometimes I would feel a thrill of excitement, at the challenge of how to disentangle them, and see each thread set free; they were like my children.

The fabric felt is devoid of warp and weft, conceived and gathered through harsh processes of thickening; shortening; distressing, and exacting means, without warp; without weft, felt becomes trauma as aesthetic, an unimaginable terrain for any tailor.