Image of special collections books from the exhibiton A Taxonomy Of Identity. Shapeshifting in Three Parts.

Fig. 1. A Taxonomy Of Identity. Shapeshifting in Three Parts. Source: LCF Special Collections.

 

The current Special Collections display in LCF Library has been curated by MA Fashion Curation student Cyana Madsen entitled A Taxonomy Of Identity. Shapeshifting in Three Parts.

 

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

Then there’s a pair of us!

-Emily Dickinson, I’m Nobody (1891)

 

Identity is assigned, curated, crafted, denied and embraced. The rejection or selection of clothing is an essential element of identity, but as Dr. Jeffrey Horsley writes in Exhibiting a Life: Gluck and the Biographic Object, “Dressed appearance also encompasses less tangible items such as physical bearing (movement, stance, gesture and poise), a signature fragrance or even a distinctive sound…”

 

Image of special collections books from the exhibiton A Taxonomy Of Identity. Shapeshifting in Three Parts.

Fig. 2. Gan, S., Dean, C. and Kaliardos, J. (eds.) (1998) Visionaire 26: Fantasy. New York: Visionaire Publishing. Source: LCF Special Collections.

 

When we are adorned with these items, we change how we understand ourselves, how we are perceived by others, and what spaces we are permitted into. With every situation we enter, our identity changes.

 

Thus, we are shapeshifters from moment to moment, the transmutation of our identity happening with every flick of the wrist, donning of a hat, application of lipstick.

 

The current display will be in LCF Library until the end of June 2018. If you would like to view any of the books , please email: specialcollections@fashion.arts.ac.uk