Bubble version 3…. extending ourselves past the literal

Today I began my session in the foyer with Bubble version 2 again. The inflatable lilo taped and wrapped around me. The words from the previous session smudged and blurry within in for me to re-read. 

This week I have begun to consider how I extend my ‘bubble’, my echo-chamber, when i don’t place myself within the literal inflatable bubble. What mechanisms are in place for us to exist within our bubbles? How do we feel safe? Protected? Have a voice? 

Social media… constant access to our phones, laptops, tablets, the internet and the algorithms that ensure we hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see.

But physically. Day to day. How do we extend this part of ourselves? 

Today I decided to consider clothing. What we wear. How we show ourselves. How we change ourselves perhaps (certainly what I do). What ‘role’ do we have today? For me…… am I ‘showing’ a version of myself? Am I Artist? Interpreter? Mum? The Artist Mum? Do i feel I am expressing myself today? What does that mean? Why is it important?

I brought with me a bag of clothes previously donated to another work of mine ‘Clothing Exchange’. I layed with the clothes, lugged the heavy bag across the space and emptied it onto the floor. I dug through it and chose some clothing. Dressed myself. Skirt, belt, fluffy waistcoat and hooded jacket…. Wig, glassed, high heels….. I strutted around, felt the clothing and myself. Felt uncomfortable….. And quickly removed some of the items to exchange them for something more comfortable. More me? 

I hid within the clothes, lay on them, under them, they became my bubble version 3. They protect, they comfort, they express. They dissent some days, dissenting the norms of the environment perhaps or they dissent by not fitting us after having children or an indulgent holiday. Clothing can restrict or liberate us. 

Over the next few sessions I will bring my clothing exchange to the spaces at the uni. I will ask audiences to exchange a piece of their clothing with my own. I will try to use this to explore how others use clothing. What pieces do they feel comfortable sharing with me? What do they want to take away? 

Does this exchange represent something more? 

This exchange can be a dissent against capitalism perhaps, but it also for me is a dissent against feeling a need to express, but acknowledging that we all do it, don’t we? Or we choose items that we feel don’t express anything at all, neutral, I AM NEUTRAL…. Or I am not anything special…… don’t talk to me. Or Here ARE MY VIEWS… you see them, on my clothing, therefore don’t talk to me! You don’t need to ask me these views!

Or is it a challenge? See this? I am different. Ask me why!

Today I left the clothes in tidy piles, along the edge of the foyer space marked with white tape. A clear boundary of the clothing, a space for it to sit a while until its next iteration. Also a nod to the ‘art making’ of things, how we place something, where and how we ‘put’ it, and how that affects what we see. The clothes sit below Andrews maps, his maps are burnt at the edges, boundaries burnt, annihilated, edges blurred, dissent against order and parameters. My clothes sit below, extensions of bodily parameters, our edges, blurring our bodies or shaping them, mapping who we are and what we like/do/listen to…..

Fellow dissenters in the laboratory. I invite you to disrupt the clothing if you wish, I only ask that it not be destroyed, so that it can still become an exchange on later days.

3 comments on “Bubble version 3…. extending ourselves past the literal”

  1. Wow that bag looks heavy! Made me giggle a bit.

    Clothes are fun I have realised (in later life lol)

    Perhaps they grow more fun when we start wearing our self image more lightly.

  2. Wow, that is amazing! I never really thought about how clothes play a part in shaping showcasing our identity. Thinking about it now, I think clothes for me has been a way of not needing any questions to be asked. I dress as is expected or suitable or stylish yet classy, just so questions aren’t raised. When you see the look it’s easy to understand. Even when I try to dissent and wear clothing that I feel are different, I noticed how similar they are to what I’m used to wearing, to the point where even when I want them to raise questions – they don’t. That brings up the idea of dissenting within a norm, one that made me question if it’s really dissecting the day I wore my traditional attire to school and people thought it was just a skirt. Clothes do really play an important part in the formation or showcasing of our identity and over time we somehow do create this bubble through the style of clothes we become accustomed to. I really love your project❤❤❤

  3. Susan this all makes lots of sense to me, and reminds me of a piece I wrote for Disability Arts Online a long time ago… it was called Inside-Out and referenced work that I had made with adapted pieces of clothing, I think you’ve seen the shirt with the window set into it?

    Then there was a vest with cellular structures stitched on and a suit jacket that had been cut away and an organic brightly coloured sculptural relief set inside.

    I was taking formal pieces of male clothing and exploring the Public, Personal and Private selves that we hide/expose/share with/from selected others. Cutting through the masks that we clothe ourselves with to reveal the warm, messy, intimate or medicalised versions of ourselves.

    Its disappeared from online now but I’ll see if I can find at least some of it to share with you.

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