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dossier Online Exhibition: Body and Power(lessness)

My mind is reductive. My body destructive.

Manifesto by Lianca van der Merwe

15 December 2021

Lianca van der Merwe is currently enrolled for a master’s in Critical Fashion Practices at ArtEZ in Arnhem. During her studies she wishes to capture her love for the outdoors and movement within the context of fashion. She calls this ongoing project #artletics – activating latent knowledge with our bodies through clothes and art.

In her research she explores the literal and metaphorical role the body, senses and identity play in the production of garments - and how we can create a more emotional and affective relationship between the matter that we wear and our bodily functions. She delves deeper into the intimate bidirectional relationship between the body and clothes; with a specific focus on the organic skin vs ‘second skin’ relationship. Is there potential for the latent information stored in our cells and microbiomes to be exposed and visualized in a way we can cognitively parse and make sense off? Can our sweat our blood be beautiful? How do we read the body in clothes or clothes on bodies? She hypothesizes that if we have a deeper understanding of how our possible ‘sentient’ clothes affect our bodies and our bodies our clothes, we will respect and cherish them more. To her, fashion has the restorative potential to undo what it has been complicit in and subvert an era of human exceptionalism.

Manifesto
Lianca has grown disillusioned with the dominance of economic systems that commoditize everything, and how we are locked into echo chambers reverberating and reinforcing their control. "My ideologies have been manipulated since birth. My mind has been corrupted but there is one thing I can always rely on - my body."

Website Lianca van der Merwe: ashareh.fit

This work is part of our online exhibition The body and Power(lessness), on how we physically experience autonomy, power(lessness), (in)justice, care and collectivity. The body and Power(lessness) is our theme of this study year and we invite ArtEZ students to join us in our research and contribute with their own work (video, text, podcast or any other digitally shareable) for an online exhibition.

"My ideologies have been manipulated since birth. My mind has been corrupted but there is one thing I can always rely on - my body."