Sunday, November 25, 2012

On becoming the Editor of the Costume Journal

Cover of Costume Journal Volume 42, Number 1

The Costume Journal is a bi-annual publication by the Costume Society of Ontario that features articles, exhibition and book reviews, resource lists (books, catalogues, tours), and other fashion and costume news. This journal is mailed out to members of the Costume Society of Ontario and is also collected by libraries and museums around the world.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Precarity and the Cultural Worker

When one works in a cultural industry (perhaps as an artist, curator, web designer writer or designer), there is an element of precarity that comes with the role. Paid jobs are erratic in nature and typically structured on a contact basis, demanding long hours for the duration. These types of jobs offer flexibility but are entwined with insecurity from the unpredictable peaks and valleys in scheduling demands.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Creative Process Journal: The Culture Industry and Enlightment as Mass Deception

"The whole world is passed through the filter of the culture industry".
(Horkheimer and Adorno)

Frankfurt School theorists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno wrote a critique of the culture industry within capitalist society in a chapter called “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” in the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944). In this work, they compare the production of culture through such media as film, radio, and magazines to that of a factory in which consumers are manipulated into a state of  docile passivity.

This densely written treatise reviles the easy pleasures of popular culture that perpetuate desire and create insatiable psychological needs that cycle into the capitalist structures of consumer demand.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Creative Process Journal and The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Photo of Walter Benjamin in 1939 by Gisela Freund
"Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be," wrote Walter Benjamin in 1936 in an essay called "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". This essay is one of many philosophical essays written by Benjamin before his death by suicide in 1940.

The idea of the aura of the original is something that makes an artwork unique and adds value. There is a mystical quality associated with an original work of art, which can be understood by considering the  difference between seeing an artwork in person as compared to viewing it in a book or on the web.

Benjamin traces the history of the mechanical reproduction of art with founding and stamping by the Greeks, engraving and etching in the Middle Ages, and lithography in the 19th century. It was the ease with which reproduction could happen using  photography and film in the 20th century which underpinned Benjamin's analysis of how these media would shift the concept of authenticity.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

BIG in the ROM Costume and Textile Gallery

BIG at the ROM with John Galliano for Dior Spring/Summer 2011
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012

This exquisite couture outfit by John Galliano for Dior from Spring/Summer 2011 is the centrepiece of the latest installation called BIG which will open at the Royal Ontario Museum's Patricia Harris Textile Gallery of Textiles and Costume on November 3, 2012.