Parsons School of Design. Photography Department.
(sponsoring body)Rachael Stollar
Culturally, it can be argued that certain forms and textures are embedded in our understanding of what we perceive as sensual. Visually, we can perceive the tactile quality of materials that are soft and unblemished and associate them with desirable bodily qualities. These desirable qualities are achieved through a process of domination over one’s own flesh; the manipulation of one’s appearance to satisfy a perceived cultural standard. Fabric has become our body’s “second skin,” able to create a culturally idealized body on the surface, attached to the skin but not of it. In terms of clothing, fabric’s surface has reinforced these ideals on the bodies of both men and women, but, in more recent centuries, for women especially, fabric has simulated not only skin and shape but also voice and, most importantly, sexuality.
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