When I go about my daily life, I receive a lot of public response to my bodies. Occasionally it’s due to the activities I choose to do, but the main reason for the general response is the way I dress. As mentioned earlier, clothing is essential to me as a visual way of exploring my identity and showcasing how my two bodies are a singular identity to external people. When I choose the clothing I wear, I focus on either something that I have specifically made or outfits that are commercial ‘fast fashion’ items – I receive very different responses in these respectively.
When I wear clothing that I have made, it becomes more apparent that I am a performance artist. The outlandish look: such as my wedding co-ords featured in figure 12 seem to give people a justification as to why my two bodies look the same. I think this comes from the fact that they look ‘homemade’, this gives the impression that my bodies are doing something specific to art. When an individual can provide a ‘logical’ reason as to why my two bodies are wearing matching outfits – typically, I receive less public response in these types of outfits.
In contrast, when my bodies wear commercial clothing – that I would deem average – I receive more negative responses, and I’m regularly questioned by the public. Figure 13 is a photograph taken of me in Stratford Upon Avon; here I am wearing a dress that I purchased from Primark and a cap that I brought from a local store. Every item of clothing I had on that day could be deemed as ‘fast fashion’ and was readily available for a vast number of people to own. Regardless of this, I was stopped numerous times on the street and was frequently asked ‘what is going on’ and a particular couple kept asking me if I was on a hen do and whether I had any other friends. They were trying to justify why my two bodies were wearing matching outfits and couldn’t comprehend that my bodies weren’t participating in a specific event. Even after I expressed, I was doing nothing in particular; they still insisted that they take photos of me (seen in figure 13).
Similarly, a recurring question I get is ‘are you, twins?’. “[…] sibling relationships, especially for twins, are sometimes indicated by identical dress.” (Roach-Higgins, M et al. 1995). Immediately when I express my two bodies aren’t related, many of them look confused and at times even disgusted, mainly because of the social expectation that wearing matching outfits typically symbolise being siblings.
Initially, when wearing my handmade garments, I assumed this would lead to a heightened public response similar to that of living art Leigh Bowery. Leigh Bowery expressed in his diary that he hated being on public transport or within confused crowds while he was dressed up, however, he much rather that than feel plain. (cited in Webb, V. 2004). Originally, I thought by wearing more extravagant clothing – which more closely resembled the likes of Bowery – I’d get more public response while in crowds or on transport. However, as discussed earlier, I found the complete opposite, with people being more interested in the doubling rather than the physical clothing. Like Bowery, my bodies don’t want to look plain, but the act of doubling ends up being more extravagant than the act of wearing flamboyant outfits. The act of wearing ‘plain’ clothing becomes more impactful because the sole focus is the doubling.
When documenting myself as art, I have always preferred photography; however, more recently, I have favoured selfie-taking. Prior I relied heavily on long exposure due to its ability to capture movement; however, since producing my work from home, I didn’t have an appropriate place to take this style of photography. To take long-exposure, I need access to a dark room, or I have to go out in the evening, however, due to my location, this is unsafe to do. All the areas with the appropriate lighting are too dangerous, while the more lit areas are too bright to achieve a similar effect like I usually do. As a result, I had to rely on timed photography which can be done at any point of the day. Selfies became more valuable to use over timed photos because they represented me more accurately in that precise moment. By using timed photography, my bodies pose themselves more unnaturally than when taking a split-second selfie.
“Selfies are public reflections of the way we view and present ourselves, an intriguing combination of inward and outward looking.”(Kozinets, R. et al. 2017)
Additionally, selfies are a way to reflect the way we feel and present ourselves; this allows me to show my two bodies exactly how I see myself as BISECT. Therefore, I ended up focusing on selfie-taking to document myself because of its numerous benefits during this time.