Dress Code is an interactive work that revolves around the exchange of intimate information. The series explores how pattern – as an attribute of surface – codes, manipulates and intervenes with personal information and intentions.
Family and friends were asked to think about their own personal packaging – their projected public appearance and submit photographic self portraits. They were given some guiding ‘rules’, and were able to interpret the brief in several ways: how they would like to appear, how they think they appear, or how they think others view them.
Reactions varied wildly. One friend decided to send me a portrait wearing nothing but a handyman’s tool belt, while others found the project far too personal to take part in at all. Some sent me their take on all three views, while others asked me what I thought they should be wearing and argued about the rules! The way people dealt with the brief and the specific instructions ended up being just as revealing as the images supplied.
So, after bravely surrendering photos of their outfits with a corresponding object, I proceeded to reinterpret and standardize them into packaging – effectively turning them into a slick patterned surface. Exhibited as large format packages – resembling point of sale advertisements – their representations mingled with gallery visitors.
After the opening night, my sister (who took part in the project, but couldn’t be there in person) wanted to know if she had enjoyed herself! I saw this interaction as breathing life back into surface. Each participant also received a digital print of their own abstraction and a personal lolly package to complete the exchange.
Dress Code has been exhibited in Inkwell (Tap Gallery 2008), The Dean’s List (Verge Gallery 2009) and made it into the 2010 MCAP as a finalist.