We are all actors, audience, observers and co-participants: selves upon selves upon selves. But is there such a thing as a ‘real me’ or a ‘genuine self’? How does one live an authentic life? These are some of the questions addressed in this piece where four performers: a model, an actor, a drag king and a cabaret queen, speak candidly about self-presentation and persona, and about how they each consume, shop and get dressed in order to construct or enact identity.
What does a Michael Jackson impersonator, a drag king, a conceptual clothing company, an improv actor, a smell artist and a robot have in common with socks crafted in a DIY Off-White workshop? Well that’s for us to know and you to find out.
Simone de Beauvoir once said that ‘one is not born a woman, but rather becomes one,’ and many would argue that the same could be said about being a man. Today, it seems more apt to talk about ‘masculinities’ in the plural, to underscore the many ways in which one can be a man, or become one.
This month long residency allowed us to explore and experiment under the umbrella of the Palais de Tokyo’s La Manutention initiative. For Vestoj this culminated in three evenings exploring the themes of our most recent issues: On Failure, On Masculinities and On Authenticity. Each theme was investigated through music, dance, films, installations and performance.
Buying is much more American than thinking and I’m as American as they come. In Europe and the Orient people like to trade – buy and sell, sell and buy – they’re basically merchants. Americans are not so interested in selling – in fact, they’d rather throw out than sell. What they really like to do is buy – people, money, countries.
What is the current that makes machinery, that makes it crackle, what is the current that presents a long line and a necessary waist. What is this current.
What is the wind, what is it.
Where is the serene length, it is there and a dark place is not a dark place, only a white and red are black, only a yellow and green are blue, a pink is scarlet, a bow is every color. A line distinguishes it. A line just distinguishes it.
Entering Mecca disciples leave all their materialistic belongings behind and enter in identical white robes, an act that symbolically means they are viewed as equals in the eyes of God. In this sacred uniform, a man who has saved all his life to visit Mecca could be praying next to a billionaire.
But she dared not look in the glass. She could not face the whole horror – the pale yellow, idiotically old-fashioned silk dress with its long skirt and its high sleeves and its waist and all the things that looked so charming in the fashion book, but not on her, not among all these ordinary people. She felt like a dressmaker’s dummy standing there, for young people to stick pins into.
In his lecture to the International Health Exhibition at the South Kensington Museum, London in 1884, William Morris gives a detailed history on textiles – weaving, tapestry and dyeing – and the textile industry. His talk traces the lineage of textile craft, spanning Classical Greek decoration, Byzantine ornament, Medieval textiles, Italian silk of the fourteenth century, to Morris’ contemporary time. Morris, a textile designer himself, as well as a poet and essayist, was prominent spokesperson of the arts and crafts movement which occurred in the United Kingdom and spread to Europe and North America from 1880 to 1910.
Bending over she found one of the braids of Marjorie’s hair, followed it up with her hand to the point nearest the head, and then holding it a little slack so that the sleeper would feel no pull, she reached down with the shears and severed it. With the pigtail in her hand she held her breath. Marjorie had muttered something in her sleep. Bernice deftly amputated the other braid, paused for an instant, and then flitted swiftly and silently back to her own room.
Size-2 shadows of his wife hung there in long rows, layer upon layer, as if someone had gathered and hung up samples of the infinite possibilities (or at least the theoretically infinite possibilities) implied in the existence of a human being.
Power Dressing examines how clothes emphasise certain roles in power structures, and what happens to our expectations of those roles when these signifiers are altered. With this in mind, we looked at the official and unofficial uniforms that the Palais de Tokyo staff wear, with particular emphasis on the guards’ uniforms.