self passage - italyan avlusu

>SELF_PASSAGE< Italyan Avlusu     [fashionProject Istanbul]
A project by the Swedish artist Otto von Busch a.k.a. Wronsov together with the artist group Oda-projesi in Istanbul, based on a process of recycling garments and their stories. The recycling process is an action on reclaiming the creative opportunity to re-fashion the attires marginalized by the fashion myth system of common consumption narratives. The workshop is an action in the tension field between theory and practice in an act of knowledge production and social reorganization.

In an act of defying the general consumption system built on building myths of expectations, the workshop tries to reverse the look on fashion as the arrowhead of the now breaking the time barrier into the future. Instead the workshop points at the history of the garments, but still keeps the production as a mirror acting inside the fashion system.

The workshop is a Swedish-Turkish art and design project made possible by the generous support from Swedish General Consulate in Istanbul.
[the project ran actively feb-march 2004 in Istanbul]
download booklet (english-turkish) 2,5mb [pdf]

: workshop1
: pants2
: jacket3

Skin close activism. As the struggle for personal identity gets tougher in the urban field there is a need to create more efficient strategies of resistance, defying the market control of expressive identity. By reclaiming the history of the garments and thus switch the focus from expectation driven identity to unique personal expression the aim is to regroup and form stronger experimental methodology on recycling. As a method the project tries to base the expression on extensive use of personal experiences and conceptions of stories that are gathered in clusters woven into the fabric itself.
Not a battle for authenticity. It's a political activity, addressing recycling in a political context suggesting new coordinates, reversing the flow of stories and expectations and thus finding the unique possibilities of every garment and it's history. By reversing commercial sublimination and expectations the technical garment will have the opportunity to speak on it's own terms and not the tongue of Fashion TV. Instead we try to build an alternative structure of consumption, based on interior and personal stories and not judging experience by the standards of mass cultures paradigms and their general production of collective memories. The struggle is on a personal level, reclaiming the right to create and experience identity through your own measurement systems - your own stories. It may not be more authentic but it surely is closer to your experiences.
New skin for the old ceremony. By creating a larger framework around an old way of alteration and recycling the projects tries to put a new ideological light onto the process of changing clothes and patterns. In a wider political context and by putting it into system of emancipation the methodology resemble the partisan acting as a force of resistance by subverting the practial and ideological impact of the occupying power. It is in the organization of the resistance that makes it visible as a movement of hope for the subconsciously oppressed. An organization of sewing machine activism on a level effecting us deeper than we might think..

: pre-production
: workshop2
: forms

Sophisticated narration. The aim is not to subvert the fashion system and kill the dreams they feed us with. Instead we hope to create a complementary scene and possibility of longer life for our own dreams that cannot keep up with the pace of fashion. The idea is not to make pronounced or sensational garments, but still try to have a visible thread open to the catwalk fashion, to act in a semi-parasitic way and use connotations from the dominant discourse of fashion - a method of sophisticated narration within the field of fashionable aesthetics. But to encounter the belief of visual immortality we put in the hands fashion we must create other ways of perceiving appearance and self-esteem beyond the classical archetypes of beauty.
Practical idealism. By exploring new ways out of the narrow minded single-line production the project opposes the product based idea of well being proposed by the commercial system and raising questions of hope through action. In constructing ways for materializing different ways of politically concerned processes in design the hope is to step beyond the products limited lifecycle and instead use their history as added value by excavations of their past.
At ODA-projesi. Italyan Avlusu - named after the yard - is the new brand of the people living at the ODA-projesi block and they are the pilots of the project. In a process of gathering their old marginalized garments and the stories from these the local participants start the creation of an alternative movement in fashion production. When gathering the garments the participants fill in forms about the stories of the garments, the experience of them, why they bought it, why they don't wear it anymore, what it means to them, but also some ”inner” stories of the old wearer. These data are collected through fill-in-forms and also a picture will be taken of the garment and wearer. All this information is a part of the finished garment as a small label/booklet to be together with the garment.

: jacket1
: jacket2
: jacket4

Unique stories. In collecting the stories together with the garments there is a path where it is possible to create another kind of awareness concerning the garments we wear. This is a counterweight to fashion media's constant reminding of us the need for change so that we don't die of social transparency together with our outdated clothes. The old garments' unique stories work instead as applications of fantasies to the garments through the recycling of living stories.
Attachments. On the recycled parts of the garments stories are attached on the inside, like descriptive signs at ruins, leaving traces to the beholder to decipher (inner and outer). These stories are anchors of additive memories but also leave the garment open for continuation. The garment promises nothing, but offers it's whole history to the new wearer. In a situation of reversed expectations the garment becomes it's own narrator and does not leave the storytelling to the stylised trendsetters and common advertised narratives.
Workshop activism. In facilitating a workshop of recycling the projects tries to show parallel ways of activism by alteration of the close environment - the clothes. In revealing the construction of clothes and the system of fashion the project not only acts as a tool of inspiration and experimental education but also creative emancipation and border breaking. By lowering the threshold to self-creation and self-(re)production new ways of reorganization appears under a different angle and widens the possibilities of (re)production.
New production. The production of garments is in an ecclesiastic style, a mixtum compositum of expressions, styles and stories. Not in a style of aesthetic narcissism but in a spirit of reclaiming the rights of wearable memory production. The focus here is to produce garments that are interesting ideologically, aesthetically and also practically wearable and nice looking. In the small booklet of the gathered stories there is data of the old wearers and the parts recycled, a mixed narrative of the recycled parts but also room for more stories to be collected.

: sweater1
: tshirt1
: open/close

Constructing methods. During the project the production is documented step-by-step to create methods of the exploration, deconstruction and reassembly of the garments. These methods are questioning our passivity and fright of claiming the possibility for unique personal expression. By putting up examples in easy readable instructions the outcome of the re-sewing becomes inspiration and threshold lowering for more radical steps in the future.
A shop for resistance clothing. In the end of the project the ODA-projesi room is turned into a fashion store named after the new label. A shop with mirrors, attendants and dressing room, the sewing machine is still there for customizing the garments to the specific customer (length, width etc). The narrative garments are adjusted to the wearer, desirable for everyday use so they become an intimate part of their own life experience, open to add more stories. During the opening and the succeeding days the shop is turned into a workshop of all-participating change with visitors bringing personal garments to be changed by them or in collaboration into new personal fashion. This creates a situation of self-creation by self-reference by putting the emphasis on the existing stories they brought by themselves.
An economy of exchange. The recycled clothes in the shop are not sold in traditional ways but are instead traded for other garments. But these garments must be worn by the customer when she enters the store - she must sacrifice something she liked this morning for something she likes in the store. And this garment she trades in must also be added with a fill-in-form telling its story. In this way the store will be refilled with stories and garments and a complementary economy of stories is created in a hope of strengthening the role and value of the garments as narrative carriers.
You are invited to join to the workshop with your old clothes and their stories.