The Body Political

Objects worn on the body can function as social tools.

Lauren Kalman is an American visual artist whose work explores body image, beauty and adornment. During a visit to Dunedin in 2018 Lauren ran a Masterclass for students and our jewellery and textile staff.  The use of humble materials by contemporary artists transforms them in a way that often exceeds expectations. She challenged participants to consider in their own art research practice the ways that an object might activate or negate a body’s sense of power, and to relate that to a social issue they wanted to champion or change.

Lecturers Victoria Bell, Andrew Last, Tracy Kennedy, Simon Swale and Cyndy McKenzie each produced a wearable object and photographed that being worn. Some participants also took up the opportunity to present a photograph of their work performatively during the same week at the Dunedin Fringe Festival’s Short Black Box space in Dunedin’s Princes Street. 

Victoria Bell reflects:

A one day workshop reminds you to be playful and invigorates making because of the time constraints coupled with the non-hierarchical collective environment, outside your own studio where we usually work alone. It's an opportunity to reconnect with student experience that informs again our teaching practice. Having an audience outcome added an intensity that extended the value of the workshop, making it more dynamic. 

October 2019