Affect and Sensation: A Phenomenology of the Dress Archive

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Abstract

“Affect and Sensation” brings together cyanotypes and text from the practice-based project “The Afterlives of Clothes” to explore the sensory and emotional effects of archival fashion research. Addressing the ways that imperfect garments make the absent bodies of those who used, made, and repaired them present for us, the works are a call to engage with the intricacies of wear, gesture, and trace. Initially developed during a fellowship at The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and later a residency at Bard Graduate Centre, the broader project asks how, in a field where absent bodies and narratives are already understood as problematic, presenting the traces of use might re-contextualize objects which would otherwise be excluded from view. Focusing on accessories, objects which Jones and Stallybrass term “detachable parts” of the self (2001b: 116), the images and writing draw upon a methodology that combines archival research with auto-ethnographic writing, image, and filmmaking to explore the embodied and bodily experience of researching imperfect garments in museum archives. Presenting archives as repositories of affect, labour, emotion, and bodily trace, they ask how ideas of affect and containment might shed light on the encounter with archival garments. This project presents garments in archives as both containers and producers of affect — an affect that, in part, stems from the bodies that wore and made them, but also from the multiple meanings that they acquire through accession, storage, conservation, and display.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages20
JournalFashion Studies
Volume3
Issue number1
Early online date21 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2020

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