Feature Image: The Hand Eye Collective at Belleville Melbourne. Photo by Julia Hick.
Architects think they rule the world because they create big spaces that we live in. By wearing clothes against our skin, design creates the most intimate space we can live in.
This statement paraphrased from Rebecca, one of the three members of the Hand Eye Collective, can explain people’s fascination with fashion. During our interview at Belleville Melbourne, the artist and I agreed that fashion is part of our individual personal identities. Clothing functions as a form of self-expression, through our ability to choose what we wear. Especially in a city like Melbourne, where people dress in a very individual and creative way. Design can serve as a piece of art on the human body. The fashion industry, on the other hand, is ruled by consumption.
The photographs document the garments as found. They are not arranged or touched in any way, then left as they were. (Photo by Rebecca Gully)
The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, which took place from the 1st to the 18th March 2018, has a focus on consumers and world-class runway shows. But within the festival, we can also find alternative views and perspectives on fashion. In the arts program of VAMFF, The Hand Eye Collective presented Liminal State. The cross-disciplinary approach utilises a culmination of photography, digital projection and art to look at fashion through a different lens.
Over the course of a year, three artists took photos of clothing that had been abandoned, rejected, forgotten or lost. These objects lying in the streets of Melbourne are not fashion anymore – but not rubbish yet. They find themselves in a liminal state. Putting light on something that most people just walk straight past can make us think of the importance of context.
A piece of fabric can be worthless rubbish found in the street, high fashion being worn on the runway, or an artwork being exhibited in a gallery. What the Hand Eye Collective also wants to focus on with their installation is materiality and narrative. Every garment being abandoned was once attached to a human body. Why did their owner leave their second skin behind? Where are they now? What is the story behind this lost object?
Photo by Christina Heristanidis
Liminal State shows clothing as a human trace found in the streets of Melbourne.