Monday, 19 April 2010

Because it had to start somewhere...

In thinking about beginning a blog it occurred to me how naff the idea of this actually was. After all, it seems as if the whole world is blogging, and within the fashion world it’s now almost become a kind of cliché. This is not to do a disservice to those who blog well, like Susie Bubble and Bryan Boy, who are rightly deserving of their status as ‘star’ bloggers, but it takes time, effort and dedication. While the editorial teams of print magazines are said to be trembling at the imminent demise of their publications due to the increasing influence of bloggers, this is in reality unlikely. Television never did kill the radio, E-mail rules, but the fax retains its purpose. Besides, retro is all the rage, in a world where we are so used to the opportunity of ‘choice’, many of us are still happy to put our trust in paper and pencil (or pen) over developing an addiction to yet another infuriating electronic device. Why tie yourself up in the multiple, yet often rather useless, apps, when you can be a member of the ‘Moleskin Mafia’?

And yet here I am, developing the tentative beginnings of a blog dedicated to my own experiences as an academic researcher and curator in the field of fashion. If you’re looking for style tips, or want to know what the hot trend will be for Spring/Summer 2015, then don’t ask me, since I have no idea. My work or practice instead concentrates instead on developing the themes and nuances of this subject that, perhaps selfishly, interest me. Having never had the stamina for keeping a diary before, or any other kind of journal-documentation for that matter, the development of a blog, documenting my process as fashion researcher/writer/curator presents a new challenge. So as with many other things, I am approaching this as ‘project’, since am beginning to have to learn about the importance of documenting the process of what I do, and how I go about this. While the people that know me, well, know that I am great hoarder of information in many ways (books, magazines, exhibition brochures), I’ve never had very sentimental feelings for documenting other aspects of my life as other people do. I have few photographs of friends or family for instance, and so many holidays, birthdays etc. have gone pretty much un-documented (or in pre-digital times, if any photos were taken they remained on the original film, undeveloped, sitting on a shelf gathering dust). For me, the best ‘photos’ were always the photos of the mind, the memories, the smells , the ambiences captured in our heads, to be replayed and relived as and when, perhaps triggered by occurrences and experiences in present-day life.

Yet, since joining as a research student on the MPhil/PhD programme at the RCA last October, I have become more aware of the processes and necessity of documentation as a part of the research. All those seemingly random conversations, lectures, films, reading, scrappy notes and drawings in sketchbooks, visiting exhibitions et al are all a part of the research. During a recent discussion with some fellow research students in our department someone stated: ‘everything is the research’. Even though we all have our specific focus and projects to work on, in a way our work is a re-questioning of everything, not only of our research itself, but also for us as individuals; that is as thinkers, writers and practitioners. Or as I think someone else once said: because it had to start somewhere, and I didn’t know where else to begin...

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