Katharine Forgan MFA Applied Craft + Design Practicum 2018

Ebb & Floop!

People are fallible beings. A lot of energy is spent in presenting ourselves as not fallible. This work is located within the culture of everyday exercise, of body physicality, and of mind over matter. It seeks an alternative to narratives of self-improvement and physical success, which can be encouraging but also a source of anxiety for many. Garments are my devices of exploration – a selection of strange outfits to be worn in a physical exertion scenario. Exercise will be achieved, but not through a known methodology in approved, functional activewear.Ebb & Floop! is a clothing collection that recounts an alternative narrative of physical success. Its ultimate message is that we do not learn to feel good in mind and body through modes of aspiration alone, but in learning to find ourselves imperfect and sometimes ridiculous

PART 1: FLORM, examines the drive of ‘self improvement’ within exercise culture, – where many positive intentions, of self-improvement can become oppressive. I identify the desire to control the body in Spinozist philosophy, which acknowledges the body as unknown and unruly. My response is to develop impractical methods of making by building voluminous, irregular forms reminiscent of bodily shapes. I exaggerate the undesired squishiness of the body, not as something to be controlled or improved, but to take center stage. Through this examination I begin to recognize physicality as a queer, fluid thing, where we needn’t feel obliged to conform to heteronormative values or aesthetics. 

PART 2: FLUNKTION, follows the journey of wearing Ebb & Floop! where knowing how to behave and move becomes uncertain. Wearing the garment activates humor in the object, liberating the wearer to slip between elegance and absurdity. The physical task may be as mundane as a jog around the block, but if approached as a fervent and joyously clumsy dance, to make allowance for fallibility.

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MFA in Applied Craft + Design Thesis Works