Garment Worker is an ongoing durational piece for which I make all the clothing that I wear. It began in July of 2007. It exists as a contract with my audience, the public, which I view as binding. The work’s documentation exists diffusely: in every image of me tagged on facebook since 2007, in every photograph taken of me since I began, in each conversation among my friends and acquaintances in which they talk about my clothes or the project. The audience, in addition to the community of people in my life who know about it, includes every person who sees me, as they are witness to the tiny rupture that handmade objects make in the aesthetics of daily life. I have made a commitment not to document the garments themselves, as this adds a layer of preciousness and fashion content to the work that I aim to avoid. I behave, aside from the massive amount of labor I invest, just as I did before the project, treating my clothes simply as clothes.
One of the things that interests me most about doing the piece is the relationship to labor that it creates. I take responsibility for the amount and kind of labor involved in what I wear, which is often a kind of labor that gets ignored. In turn, however, I ignore my own labor in the same way that such labor is habitually ignored. I have created a closed loop in which I ignore and exploit my own labor rather than someone else’s.
“Durational” takes on new meaning when it begins to stretch toward a decade, and I’m glad for what I’ve learned and the way the project shifts as its life gets longer. I do have a contract which dissolves my agreement with the public, but I have not yet felt tempted to sign it.