I have long been obsessed with the idea of the uniform, a simple set of clothes that comprises your entire wardrobe. (if you are one of these you will know what I’m talking about instantly). In my own way I have fallen into clothing “patterns” that manifest themselves by way of favorite items that I wear constantly. Maybe more aptly I should call it a “clothing system”. While I love clothes and get excited about them, I do not enjoy shopping for clothes and would rather have several of the things that really work for me, (read: I feel good in). I don’t really have the energy to put into creating “a look”, as I would much rather spend my time (outside of parenting) reading, researching and creating. So I have several “fall back” items. Every time I stray from what works I end up regretting it. I fantasize often about having the simplest and extremely portable wardrobe, only of items that work well and that I love. At times it seems a bit of a daunting thing to limit yourself in this way, at others, an act of total freedom! I like the idea of having small embellishments on the basic items, allowances for socks, scarves and hats.
A few of my favorite artists have had uniforms, the most memorable being Charles and Rae Eames. Charles wore the same button up shirts, pants, shoes and bow ties everyday for his whole life. While Rae actually designed a kind of smock which she made in multiples, and wore a simple white shirt underneath. I cannot explain how excited I get just thinking about it.
about a year ago I started writing notes on what constitutes my Uniform.
I prefer multi purpose items. (works in the city or the woods)
they must be very durable and last for several years.
they must be comfortable.
I must be able to perform any task in it, (hiking, biking, walking, etc.)
must be made out of natural fibers.
it must travel well, (look good wrinkled)
my goal right now is to pare down what I have into a workable multi-piece uniform. My husband and I are in the process of severely paring down our worldly goods. While my current wardrobe is not very large (two drawers and one side of a very small closet, 1.5 ft wide), it is still challenging to get to the simple workable level I am aiming for.
I love the idea of the smock, but find it does not really suit my lanky frame, (i end up looking like I am wearing a sack.)
there are a few people who have also dealt with the Uniform as a concept. the one that comes to mind is Andrea Zittel.
some other’s whose style I am really into right now…
*above image excerpted from how to be an explorer of the world”, 2008 perigee books
a wonderful exploration sent to me from markus (inspired by “how to be an explorer”). He created it while being angry with his new washing machine. I love it. reminds me a bit of the early work of experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. watching it makes me want to experiment more with film.
another beautiful brakhage, mothlight. they are like moving collages.
the washing machine film is quite appropriate for me right now as I have embarked on my own project of documenting “things that are spotted/found while in the midst of another task”. for example “while looking after the baby” you notice the ice patterns on the window. “while visiting the public restroom” you see an interesting pattern on the floor tile. I suppose that is precisely the point of “Explorer” given that I wanted the things to be found “in the midst of living”, but I suppose I go further into this everyday as I am so limited in time now. every little thing I see has an even greater importance, or is even of greater interest when it is so fleeting.
i must run, someone stirs.
if you’re in the market for some xmas presents here are some great ideas:
Tom’s shoes, for every pair purchased Tom’s will send a pair to a child in need. I LOVE this concept!
buy a chicken at oxfam.
how about a gift membership to co-op america?
terra pass, gifts that reduce your carbon footprint.
redefine christmas has some donating options.
and I just had to mention this flattering and very detailed review/interview on Wired’s Geek Dad blog. includes several page spreads. wow. thank you. I’m blushing.
*I so love that the post is filed under “philosophy & geek culture”. oh yes!
Sometimes, he would be seen standing under the rain, his eyes closed, still as a statue.
“Hey, Lui, what are you doing there? You’ll get wet through”, they would shout at him. And he would reply: “I’m listening to the rain, but it’s hard, because there’s so much noise!”
Other times, he would be mesmerised by a twisted tree, and to look at it, he would twist his own neck one way and then the other, following the bends in the branches.
“Hey, Lui, do you want to become a plant as well? Is that why you stand rooted there?”
And he: “I’m listening to the leaves, but it’s hard, because there’s too much noise!”
But the thing Lui did most often and which he most enjoyed was to follow the lines and contours of the distant mountains, of the tree trunks, of the church steeples.
Well, you can imagine how much Lui wanted to go for a stroll in the woods.
excerpted from “Lui and the art of going down to the woods” by Guido Quarzo
no leaves here as you can see.
“It has been noted that consciousness deals only with a few things at a time, translating one sense to the other, unlike the unconscious, where everything happens at once all the time. In mechanical societies where information moves slowly, the conscious is the environment. In conditions of instantaneous movement of information, the subconscious becomes the environment.” ~Bucky
are we inhabiting the subconscious right now?
To help launch the Italian version of Wreck this Journal (which is also a kind of yearly agenda) I recently did radio interview with Radio Populare with the wonderful Marina Petrillo (based in Milan Italy), instant friends we were. You can hear the interview here.
Because of that interview I received another interview with BrainFactor, a scientific news agency devoted to brain research and neuroscience. It reports advances in the brain research field and is published daily in Italian. They are doing a piece on the science of creativity. Let me say how flattered I was to be asked by a science journal to share my thoughts on the matter. You can read the english version here. It is unlike any interview I have done before.
i feel proud.
“Just slipping on the glasses was, every time, a thrill for him. He might be, for instance, at a tram stop, and he would be overcome by sadness because everything, people and objects around him, was so vague, banal, worn from being as it was; and him there, groping in the midst of a flabby world of nearly decayed forms and colors. He would put on his glasses to read the number of the arriving tram, and all would change: the most ordinary things, even lampposts, were etched with countless tiny details, with sharp lines, and the faces, the faces of strangers, each filled up with little marks, dots of beard, pimples, nuances of expression that there had been no hint of before; and he could understand what material clothes were made of, could guess the weave, could spot the fraying at the hem. Looking became an amusement, a spectacle; not looking at this thing or that–just looking.” -Italo Calvino from The Adventure of a nearsighted man, Difficult Loves