The narrative, the wording of meaning, the definition of attitudes are very relevant requirements to later work of art, action or absence thereof. So what explanations are given visually or verbally is of great matter.
As far as I understood, the art project named 'Project Facade' re-forms anatomical, pathological and surgical dismay of real world war I victims that are portrayed on the project's website in order to visualize their history, their suffering as some type of 'fashion narrative'. As I am both practically and theoretically interested in this subject, this caught my interest.
Realistic documentaries may be biased if not fictionalized already enough for my taste, yet these attempts to create clothes that tell stories are completely invented - yet, they seem to carry even more relevant or truthful aspects about the uncharted territories of the relationship between two completely different species - seemingly healthy humans, and apparently disabled humans.
Copyright 2005 Paddy Hartley.
So, this is not so obvious.
- This project's 'fashion narratives' imply that visual disability or serious past injury is not adequately dealt with by simply having it and having to show it, showing it. In the eyes of the people that created this project and in the eyes of society that stands behind such, there may be more needed. More than the fact, the presence. There seems to be a need for the obviously not-affected public to be offered more. What more? Why more? Isn't it enough already?
- As the visual display of disability or injury is obviously visual and graphic, the assumption that 'an image says more than thousand words' is again proven wrong - because then people get nervous not knowing the real history. This to me is an everyday experience. Real history telling appears to be so quintessential to these designers that they even sew words, slogans, paragraphs as text onto their 'fashion narratives'.
- Time now is ...time now. Injuries, damages that date back now appear and are healed and old. Yet public re-understanding appears to require a step back in time. A visual from the time when 'it just happened', a memory of the tragic incident or shortly after are used to illustrate the coming about of the damage.
- Yet the disfigurement, disability or injury is covered up in any of these designs. Do we need highlighted sleeves? Does the public require visual guidance and visual protection? Is the bare reality not good enough? Do we elevate injuries, disability and disfigurement to the same status as genitals: 'must be covered in public at all times'?
There is a clear discrepancy.
- Public sees a need for re-iterating verbal history. It is an everyday experience that people ask. I don't, I like past to stay past. I don't need to repeat myself over and over. I don't needlessly suffer from it. It just sucks.
- Public wants my disability covered. In fact, people told me to always cover my damaged arm. Always wear a sleeve. - They are all saying the same thing. Yet I personally feel that goes too far.
- Public seems to need 'more recent' visual clues. Yes, I got some shirts printed but how strange. Really, I like to wear my clothes regular, normal, un-clued.
This communicates significant and relevant collateral damage to the disabled person that supposedly wears such an outfit or that conforms to what we are shown as 'adequate' portrayal of their condition.
- The fact that a person is disabled or handicapped, injured or maimed is now advertised from all angles. These clothes don't contain a written report stuffed into a pocket. No - they scream the message "I am shockingly different" all over. Even to people walking behind. That is what makes them markedly different from reality and yet it tells us something about the makers of this, representative of the general public. Who would maybe like to see disability marked, branded, highlighted - obviously so as to better avoid the affected people or better prepare for it? So as to not having to feel and think.
- Fixtures, straps, covers are provided to body areas that are not required to be covered. For example, the facial harnesses that this project contains all seem to employ some sort of head belt going around the back of the head. Yet the back of the head may not be injured. So that surplus in fabric loading is what I see as problematic, assuming the whole setup as part of a hypothetical 'communicative disability trade ethics'.
But I will suffer consequences. If I don't satisfy the public, *they* get nervous and start to discriminate me. So I have to comply, one way or another I will have to submit.
Weird, though, isn't it.