Workshop PORTAL 005

For the PORTAL 005 workshop Elisa van Joolen worked with visitors of the Don't Feed the Monster in Punkt Ø - Galleri F 15, Moss, Norway to research the economic, social and emotional value of clothing.

PORTAL is a research project that explores the economic, social and emotional value of clothing and offers a ‘way in’ to understanding garments from a multitude of overlapping and intersecting perspectives. Could different garments worn by different people be related? In what ways are emotional and monetary values of clothing connected? To whom does a piece of clothing belong?

For every edition, participants are asked to take off a garment, lay it down on a large Tyvek sheet, outline their garment with tape and answer a series of questions regarding its production (Where was it made?), materials (What is it made of?), ownership (Is it yours?) and value (How much did it cost? What is the emotional value?). Subsequently connections are made between the garments by literally drawing lines between the items of the various visitors, creating a network that reveals connections between and intersections of personal, economic, social, cultural and political realms surfacing a complex and layered system of the reality of clothing. This culminates in a map, or landscape of personal stories that connect to form a fashion network which inverts our gaze, shining a spotlight on the intricacies of our own outfits and extraordinary aspects of the everyday as opposed to the myth of the exclusive fashion image. PORTAL thus provides an entryway to a vision that begins to prioritise values that are ephemeral and yet integral in “influencing hearts and minds and shaping the way we live together”. It captures and visualises information that circumvents established hierarchies and disrupts the homogeneity of the commercially driven fashion system with the refreshing diversity of fashion that is worn; embodied and imperfect.

The collected information of each PORTAL edition is visualized and brought together in a reader using the sixteen PORTAL questions as a starting point.

PORTAL 005 (2019). Photography: Elisa van Joolen.