High Visability (work in progress), 2023-

I would like to develop my research on the objectification of the body and the delicate subject of (sexual) trauma. I touched on these topics during my HISK residency but have not explored them far enough. For example, I worked with a bodybuilder to explore his position as a huge muscular man in patriarchal society. We reflected on what safety (in public space) meant to him -him being a security guard that carried a gun on the job etc- and what it meant to me (a queer woman).

Because of my background as a costume designer, clothing (and more specifically, uniforms) has always played a big role in the way I deal with narrativity in my work. This I would like to research by further investigating High Visibility workwear, 'workies' (the workmen in workwear, mainly working on construction sites or on in public space) and the fetish community that solely is dedicated to outfits of 'workies'.

Through these topics I explore safety, objectivization (+ fear and gender based violence), the transforming power of costume design and finding a niche fetish community, the semantics of (traffic) signalization. I want to research to whom our bodies actually belong: to the individual, to the capitalist machine or to a shared community and its undeniable conventions? Is our body trapped, in systems, in (sexual) trauma?

I see enormous potential for poetry in High Vis clothing, perhaps because it gives light in the dark, perhaps because it is made to clearly communicate to its surrounding, perhaps because it protects its wearer, perhaps because it glorifies physical labour and thus, for me, refers to the construction of the systems in which we live, work and move, maybe because of the alarming nature of the Neon-colour and it’s flair for the dramatic. I'd like to call it camp, the High Vis clothing, pulling my heavy questions back to a place of pleasure.

Images from the research (portraits, printwork, online found footage):