Body scape: A wearable inquiry into body–landscape relations

ANU Press
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Journal Article
Craft and Design Enquiry, 2015, 7 pp. 81 - 96
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This essay arose from my current doctoral research investigating the relative position of the human body and its garment cladding within the urban landscape as a generator of place, space and spatial change. I critique the view that our bodies are separate from the landscape, building on the phenomenological foundations of Martin Heidegger and Otto Bollnow, among others. Through this lens, we are able to understand the reliance of the human body upon the earth’s surface for existence, though there is a marked division between the ‘body’ and the ‘landscape’ inherent in phenomenological theory that places us as separate from the space. Employing a combination of theoretical and project-based discussion, I attempt to reveal the inexistence of this separation and, as such, to understand the body as a dynamic material substance of the world. If we consider this in light of the rapidly increasing global urban population then this ‘body material’ becomes one of abundance and signi cant spatial phenomenon. This position is articulated through a wearable project that I conducted for the 2011 Meeting of European Design Students at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The project, titled ‘A Conversation of Space’, investigated and provoked the dialogue of space occurring between our bodies and the surrounding landscape. Through the considered design and construction of abstract garments that distorted and disrupted the occupation and the perceived identity of particular spaces, the project attempted, through public ‘performances’, to reveal and understand the material rami cation of our body presence in the world. The purpose of the inquiry was not to create a new reality or identity within the landscape but, rather, to draw attention to the signi cance of our bodies in creating the spaces that we know to exist.
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