In slowing down, looking closer and re-examining our understanding of
the world, we can bring to light a raref ied expression of beauty that is
more in line with nature, humanity and well-intentioned altruism.
PARALLEL DIMENSIONS is an aggregation of form, co-action and sound that will de-condition the eye and subvert previous impressions of thought. As mediums fuse, they compose a space for people to experience their immediate surroundings through a purif ied lens.
“It looks real enough - rocks and trees and birds and people. But it is actually only a world of images, three-dimensional ‘shadows’ of another, more genuinely real world - a world of pure ideas - standing ‘behind’ this world we see and hear and touch. When we see the sun, we are completely overwhelmed and we run back into our sanctuary of the cave. And so, preferring a more manageable and comfortable existence, even if less genuinely real, we retreat to our ‘cave’, the world of sense perception, permitting our intellects only occasional and fleeting glimpses of ultimate reality.”
— Biju P. R. on Plato’s Cave
To create in parallel, one must start from zero. Plato believed that truth is in abstraction. His Allegory suggests that we, humans, are in our own cave: the world as we see it with our f ive senses. Plato’s Theory of Form proposed the existence of a non-ideal realm, divorced from the so-called external reality.
Form is informed by knowledge. Each experience adds to the vocabulary of our visual language. As a series of underlying assumptions and expectations, our view of the world is skewed by banal forms and reformed banality. A shoulder seam, armhole, sleeve and neckline. Something as simple as a t-shirt comes with a series of guieyedlines.
Sculptor, Jean Arp, worked according what he termed, The Laws of Chance. Taking influence from nature's spontaneous creations, his process aimed to materialize a reality as opposed to an imitation. For his piece, Objets placés selon les lois du hasard (Objects Placed According to the Laws of Chance):
“The artist randomly placed cut pieces of wood, using a method that he described in these words:
‘I let myself be carried along by the work of art that is thus produced, and I trust it. The forms may be attractive or strange, hostile, inexplicable, mute or somnolent. They create themselves, while I seem to merely move my hands.’”
— Jean Arp cited by
Carmen Fernández Aparicio
With this approach, clothed forms can be assembled with no pre-established techniques. Their contours, lines and silhouettes are not rooted in historical foundations, and instead, present a timeless offering that balances the innovative and the primitive. As process-led gestural compositions they reveal the human hand and express the fundamental root of emotion.
This exploration reveals two opposing forces that seem to rely on each. Integrum, the latin word for ‘complete, whole, intact’ and fractrum, meaning ‘fragment, break, shatter’. As antipodes they complete our vision. They call to mind the ancient Buddhist philosophy, Mottainia, a term that carries with it metaphysical, ethical and aesthetic connotations:
“Every little thing has a soul... Mottainia expresses a feeling of regret at wasting the intrinsic value of a resource or object, referring to both physical waste and to wasteful action. As a concept, mottainai reflects the feeling that arises from the awareness of both the interdependence and impermanence of all things.”
— Kevin Taylor
In balancing chaos and control, the line they walk is in harmony with the eye, carrying the depth of untainted emotional signif icance.
INTEGRUM | To respect material in its unity comes with the innate appreciation of its wholeness
Cuts into the material are made in relation to the human form. They never separate the fabric completely; sections are always left intact to maintain the integrity of the entire piece. Draped directly onto the body, the virgin cloth is then folded and manipulated in relation to height, proportions and overall symmetry. It has connections with the original forms of origami that were practiced during the Edo period in the 17th century. At this time, cutting was a part of the origami process, but was later modif ied after Japan opened its border to European influence. As a process in flux, it is constantly evolving and becoming more complex to reveal new metamorphoses.
FRACTUM | To respect the fabric’s potential for new life and embrace its inner brokenness
In order to make use of the resources that others have left behind, garments are born from destruction. Second-hand objects are contemplated, transforming their once denied dispositions. Like a three-dimensional puzzle, small pieces are assembled directly on the f igure, a form of draping close to sculpture that evades traditional methods of clothing construction. As transient vestments of the ‘other’ world they are decontextualized and reenvisoned as elevated artefacts. Their fragmented realities exude the capacity for these discarded items to become structural salvators. Using the resource as the origin, we can apply its inherent limitations as a means to f ind limitless possibilities.
The eye must refocus to view clothing from its curious inception. It seems our sense of detail, of quality and our appreciation for handwork has been weakened through a segmented methodology. An understanding of the entire process can instill a sense of veneration for the fabric and its craft.
A moment experienced in Romania at The Transylvanian Museum of Ethnography, clearly showed the historic appreciation of fabric as a global phenomenon. The housed collection of traditional Romanian clothing was in stark contrast with a temporary exhibition of Japanese kimonos. The noticeable shift from Western to Eastern perspective was met with the realisation of their joint appreciation for the fabric’s true value. The use of zero-waste pattern making was universally shared in a time when a close interaction with fabric production, down to the thread itself, was an established normalcy.
This historical perspective has been revisited across modern history, from Madeleine Vionnet and Cristóbal Balenciaga to more recent examples including: Issey Miyake, Holly McQuillan, David Telfer, Timo Rissanen, Rickard Lindqvist, Julian Roberts, Daniel Silverstein and Christopher Raeburn, amongst many others. We acknowledge their efforts in this f ield and hope to contribute to their shared body of work. In retracing the memory of handcrafted societies, we hope to imbue the vestiges of dyeing artforms with new meaning. Their techniques and philosophies are reframed to impress their relevance for contemporaneity.
Frstly, the use of remnant fabrics and dead stock textiles serves as a beginning to make use of that which already exists, but we understand that the demand for such fabrics encourages their continued existence. As we move towards sustainable fabrications we will explore new avenues and their diverse applications. Our investigations have resulted in a small-scale production of garments made from the following:
— SeaCell™ | smartf iber AG [ Germany ]
A cotton jersey knit blended with Icelandic seaweed, containing vitamins and amino acids that have healing properties for the skin and body. The substance has protective capabilities against the environment’s natural elements. Its antioxidants are chemically proven to f ight off aggressive oxygen compounds, reducing stress levels and promoting a sense of overall wellbeing.
— Ahimsa Silk | Seidentraum [ Germany ]
Silk harvested according to the Ahimsa principles of Hinduism: “a multidimensional concept inspired by the premise that all living beings have the spark of the divine spiritual energy” (Arapura, 1997). Traditional methods of silk production involve boiling the cocoons, killing the larvae inside to increase the manufacturing process and the ‘purity’ of the fabric. In the creation of non-violent silk, the entire metamorphosis of the silkworm is respected and left uninterrupted. Once the silkworm has transformed into a moth and hatches from its cocoon, the empty shell left behind is used to reel the silk f ibres. It leaves impression of the creature at work as remnants of its natural handiwork. Also, the Global Organic Textile Standard of manufacturing guarantees the security of workers, ensuring good working conditions that improve the local economy. The Karmic values of Ahimsa encompass all living beings.
— Tencel™ | Lenzing [ Austria ]
A fabric developed from sustainable wood sources in Austria. The wood pulp is converted into cellulosic f ibers through a solvent-spinning process. This closed loop production method recycles processed water and reuses the solvent at a recovery rate of more than 99%. The fabric adopts the process of photosynthesis as a means to be fully integrated into the natural lifecycle.
— Ecological Textiles [ Netherlands ]
Organic cotton, linen and hemp coated with ethically sourced beeswax. is a GOTS certif ied company that partners with different vendors across the world. Some include, Japanese company that led the way with their organic cotton over 25 years ago; a Hungarian spinning mill known for their f ine linen yarns; and, a Dutch start-up developing hemp yarns using the innovative technique of steam explosion to avoid the need for harmful chemicals.
[ With more to come... ]
We work with companies that utilise transparency to make their ethical standards visible to the public. Bruno Pieters from Honest By has embraced this model as the world’s f irst 100% transparent brand. Also, we understand the cost of transport for these specialized materials from other locations, but we hope our use of such materials will lead to a growing demand for these products and in turn, more local methods of distribution and fabric production.
In supporting local modes of manufacturing, we become more intimately linked to the object through our connection with the maker. Karl Marx spoke of the industrial revolution and how the rise of production lines have diminished our ability to appreciate the process from a holistic perspective. Breaking down the levels of separation gives way to an exchange of humanity. Marx’s Theory of Alienation portrays this alternative outlook on Capitalism:
“ Let us suppose that we had carried out production as human beings. Each of us would have in two ways aff irmed themself and the other person.
[ i ] In my production I would have objectif ied my individuality, its specif ic character, and therefore enjoyed not only an individual manifestation of my life during the activity, but also when looking at the object I would have the individual pleasure of knowing my personality to be objective, visible to the senses and hence a power beyond all doubt.
[ ii ] In your enjoyment or use of my product I would have the direct enjoyment both of being conscious ofhaving satisf ied a human need by my work, that is, of having objectif ied our essential nature, and of having thus created an object corresponding to the need of another's essential nature.
…Our products would be so many mirrors in which we saw reflected our essential nature. ”
Marx’s views were influenced by Rousseau, who expressed humankind’s paradox of wholeness. To fulf ill the innately communal nature of the individual, one must isolate oneself from society in order to free themselves from the alienating effect of corporate structures (Campbell, 2012).
It evokes the opposing dichotomies that exist within a globalised world: a reality of increasing segmentation and connectivity, both with divergent trajectories. Perhaps the Internet could serve as a means to connect those with dissenting views of opinion and align aesthetic sensibilities in a joint community of artisanal appreciation. A modern means of communication to achieve historic values, expressing the inner essence of one’s self and its place within society.
In crossing the boundaries of societal conventions, geographical location, and physical forms we can express the essence of things, of nature, of meaning. This essentialist approach to idea and aesthetic creates a portal into an invisible realm. Marina Abramović alludes to this sensation in her f ilm, The Space In Between:
“I always feel like a little kid and the universe is a big, big, big interesting place to be – and this is one universe. It’s like you know all the materials and tools you need to get in touch with these parallel realities. And if you know the right ingredients, right object in right time, in right placement, you get there. So it’s like a secret passage…”
As we traverse time and altered dimensions, new perspectives reveal themselves. In identifying a new form of beauty not linked to external validation, one can appreciate the complexity that lies within the diversity of forms and reject the generalised model that comes from a dress mannequin.
With this perspective, the human character becomes the foundation. Its posture, presence and conversation inform the design. Like statues, their contours are shaped in malleable materials as relics of the process and preservers of corporeality. We hope to develop an outward reflection, as one’s interiority becomes their direct exteriority. In achieving a more direct expression of the individual, the complexes we inherit from social and personal environments become abstracted. To quote Italian painter, sculptor and theorist Lucio Fontanta:
“In this way fabric is no longer a support for symbols representing material objects, it becomes a surface for the projection of the spectator´s spirit.”
In creating embodied spaces, we hope to transmit the fundamental premise of the human experience as outer—and inner—freedom.