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Free Content (Ad)dressing the female body

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This visual essay presents a body of work that uses a ‘language of flesh’ and fabric to make explicit the relationship between the body, image and our increasingly material world. Recognizing that our skin is a site of inscription for social and cultural ideals, it considers how these images have been internalized and appropriated onto the body. As the temptation to sculpt our body through clothing and cosmetic surgery becomes increasingly pressing, it is important to pose questions as to how and why we are fashioned. Weaving together feminist concerns, and touching upon (syn)aesthetic discourses to frame and embellish these samples of practice, it is hoped that certain assumptions about the female body are ruptured. Using the site/sight of the body to try and expose these fabrications, I have created these ‘articulate’ costumes to unpick them.

These costumes are critical as they deny their conventional function, instead opening up and celebrating the visceral, living body. These subversions, in undermining typical narratives of fashion and flesh, create a space to (re)present this body; allowing it to speak for itself. (Ad)dressing the female body here refers to material and physical strategies to un/dress; in order to readdress our corporeal and conceptual understanding of the body.
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Keywords: (syn)aesthetic; disintegrating dress; explicit body; female body; image; skin; suture; ‘language of flesh’

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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  • Scene is dedicated to a critical examination of space and scenic production. The journal provides an opportunity for dynamic debate, reflection and criticism. With a strong interdisciplinary focus, we welcome articles, interviews, visual essays, reports from conferences and festivals. We want to explore new critical frameworks for the scholarship of creating a scene.
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