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The Laundry Series / Helping

Helping: The Clothing Workshop is a new participatory performance art workshop, whereby I ask people to lend me as much of the clothing they are wearing, as they are comfortable – so that I can clothe my naked body. Essentially, one-by-one, as each person gives me a piece of their clothing, I put it on and heartfully thank them. Soon, I am offered so much clothing from multiple participants that I become engulfed in layers of it, to the point I become physically constricted with laboured breathing. My body shape also transforms into a larger person and I have difficulties moving. While some people lend me a couple of their clothing items, others offer me all their clothing. During this time, a role reversal takes place, in that I become consumed by clothing and participants become vulnerable through their loss of clothing. Once no one is able or wishes to help further, or once I cannot handle wearing any more clothing, I begin to remove, fold and return clothing items to their owners. Again, I heartfully thank each participant as I return their clothing item.
Helping: The Clothing Workshop pushes the boundaries of how far someone is willing to help, and at what point too much help becomes harmful. While it resonates gratitude amongst myself and participants, the piece eventually transforms into concern for helping too much. Helping: The Clothing Workshop also plays with contrasting experiences of vulnerability and power – who has little, and who has much. There is a debrief session at the end to share experiences around the thresholds of helping versus harming, vulnerability versus power, and clothing as it relates to identity and material overconsumption.
Helping: The Clothing Workshop belongs to a developing body of work entitled The Laundry Series, which is taking on new forms and connotations from its original photographic manifestation, Dressing, Pinning, Folding, Spinning, and Slipping. The series has expanded to performative photographs entitled Tossing, and an a audio-video installation called Dressing and the performance artworks Purging and Helping: The Clothing Workshop.

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  2016  /  Uncategorized  /  Last Updated December 18, 2016 by tascencao  /