Project created in residence at Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, August 2016
Elsewear takes Elsewhere Museum’s collection of vintage thrift as the starting point for a series of interactions based on clothing and memory. Over 25 different outfits were taken from Elsewhere’s wardrobe to be worn by the artist throughout the duration of the residency. These items of clothing were washed, mended, ironed, worn and documented on a daily basis.
The outfits sparked conversations and interviews with fellow residents, museum staff, visitors, and community members. These discussions revealed the power of clothes as everyday materials that shape our identity and mediate our encounters with the rest of the world. As a witness, a performer, and a protector within the endless process of self-fashioning, clothing can control the body as much as it can liberate it.
Selections from these conversations are compiled within the Elsewear Style Museum, a monogrammed suitcase that serves as a growing archive of clothing memories and a collaborative, multi-perspectival guidebook on style. On the third floor, the selected outfits hang on display. Suspended from the ceiling, they form a forest of garments that are dense with the memories of past wearers, the artist included. And while clothing gathers memory and meaning, clothing stories can be inscrutable, known only to their wearer. Elsewear attempts to bring these stories to light.
With documentation assistance from Fraser Carr Miles and Sam Stewart, and clothing care advice from Amanda Carr.
Amanda Carr wrote a bit about this project for The Women’s Room.