Day Eleven-The last day at KU Summer School, Textiles and Fashion in Theory and Practice through 3,000 years.
Last night, we visited the Designmuseum (https://designmuseum.dk/) and the task there was to decode the representation of fashion through two displays “Fashion and fabric” and “Danish Design Now”. Then, this morning we discussed what was the general narrative, identify the target audience, what was, both, the strengths and weaknesses of the exhibits and “what seems to happen to fashion when it is “musealised” and becomes part of our public heritage management? This term, generally, means placing lives (from the recent and distant past), the activities of those lives and associated material culture into a freeze frame (museum).
One example, the late Alexander Mc Queen and Savage Beauty exhibition (Costume Institue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, US) 2011https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2011/alexander-mcqueen and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2015 http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-alexander-mcqueen-savage-beauty/about-the-exhibition/
McQueen designed as a craftsman, he knew the lines of his craft so well and to quote him…
He had learnt the tradition of making clothes, he used it to underpin his own talented craftsmanship and he experimented by cutting cloth beyond the measure in order to present material in a myriad of curated McQueen themes. The retrospective Savage Minds exhibition presented a freeze frame of his creative life, its activities and its material culture.
Continuing with the theme of fashion and museums, the class listened to the history of fashion in museums. We, as a group, listened and observed and grasp what a difficult concept for museums to curate…………fashion, a work always in progress not linear but cyclical
Our final session took us into the land of Google with Louise Rytter (Content editor for Google Arts and Culture’s We Wear Culture Project) (https://artsandculture.google.com/)
An interesting platform and tool with many opportunities to observe and learn but it is a tool and that is all it is.
Why do I say this?
Well, a scenario was recounted to us that two reality garments were laid out in a room surrounded by tools of virtual reality technology and no-one touch the real garments, sad!!!! I utilise technology constantly, I want to and I choose to, however, I do not want the V&A, the Victoria and Albert Museum to become the G&A Museum, the Google Arts Museum. I want to use both reality and virtual reality and what I object to is the subtle manipulation of choice that is already in our daily lives. Are we in danger of being musealised as we live or as it happened already…………….think, Instragram ready!!!!
I want to finish tonight by thanking my fellow students for the great support and advice and the super laughter. To the staff at the Centre for Textile Research, Saxo Insitute, Copenhagen thank you all for invaluable words of guidance, encouragement, informative lectures, and readings, I learnt so much.
I want to extend an invitation to you all to visit the Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture, University College Dublin.
The very best of luck with all presentations and the exam in August.