Frock Consciousness

Interrogating the notion of 'Frock Consciousness' through the practice of dressing and responding to dressed bodies.

 

Within my practice as an artist that draws upon my professional experience as a fashion stylist, I have undertaken a broad range of practice-based projects in the last 13 years that deal with the identity and dress. This exposition seeks to use Virginia Woolf’s notion of frock consciousness as a framework to demonstrate how each of the projects has contributed to a body of research that has enabled me to make a contribution to knowledge in terms of how the practice of dressing ourselves impacts upon one’s consciousness and experience of being in the world. Lisa Cohen in her essay “Frock Consciousness”: Virginia Woolf, the Open Secret, and the Language of Fashion (1999) reminds us that whilst the idea of frock consciousness discussed by Woolf in her diary of 1925 might at first appear to be an oxymoron, one word concerned with coverings and the other a quality of mind, clothes “lie between what we understand to be public space (the social world at large), and what we consider private (the body of an individual)” (150:1999).

Published in Journal for Artistic Research Issue 21, 2020.

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