FASHIONCLASH presents the 11th edition of the international and interdisciplinary FASHIONCLASH Festival in Maastricht on 1 to 3 November 2019.
During this three-day festival, over more than 100 emerging designers and (performing)artists from all over the world get the opportunity to show their work to a diverse, international audience. The multidisciplinary program contains fashion shows/presentations, exhibitions, installations, awards, fashion talks, theatre and dance performances and more. FCF is all about discovering, stimulating and co-shaping the current developments in fashion and unlocking these developments for a wide audience. www.fashionclash.nl
FASHIONCLASH and Lonneke van der Palen have a long history together. Ever since the beginning, Lonneke has been involved in many projects. In particular, the cooperation for the FASHIONCLASH Festival campaign has become a returning tradition. In fact, this year marks the sixth campaign developed together.
‘For this edition, the starting point was to embody the new spirit of FASHIONCLASH, but with consideration where the roots of the platform come from. The 2019 edition stands for the clash in FASHIONCLASH, the quest for the creation of new fashion narratives.
With the new festival period (previously the festival took place in June / July) we are looking for a better connection to the international fashion agenda and provide a platform for the new generation of designers who are graduating in June.’ – FC team
Interview with Lisette Ros
Meet the artist Lisette Ros and the story behind the FASHIONCLASH Festival 2019 campaign
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
In 2012 I completed my Bachelor in Fashion and Branding at AMFI, the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. After this, I realized that I needed a more philosophical and sociological approach to develop and shape my vision. With that in mind, I started following a Masters program at the ArtEZ Institute of Arts in Arnhem. I started to explore spaces and human behaviour in relation to the routines and conventions within our current, constructed society. In this, my fascination for architecture, actually (spatial) structures in a broader sense, has become an important thread. I started to investigate how human, common actions, behaviour, conventions and daily rhythms relate to different spaces (literally and figuratively) and vice versa. In 2014 I obtained my Master of Arts with the work INTERVENING SPACE: Reframing Conventions, for which I researched the boring (plain) office space and the convention of sitting. I noticed that I – and many with me – we are sitting far too much every day. I translated this into a concept for a performance (video and live) and installation by enlarging, repeating, isolating and exaggerating the action of sitting. I sat in the same chair for eight hours without performing any other action. This awareness of body and mind, the associated codes of conduct and, in particular, questioning their self-evidence have become the most important pillars of my work. INTERVENING SPACE became the overarching concept of all my autonomous performance concepts, for which I use my own body as a tool.
When have you decided to pursue a career in the field of the arts?
I have a background in fashion and after studying for four years it became clear to me that the “fashion world” as we knew it (and still know it) is too superficial for me. I found it interesting to do experiments in my projects in the broader sense of the word “Fashion”, the rest I already had “played out” fairly quickly and was therefore no longer that interesting. The dishonest and superficiality beneath it came to the surface and not much within the fashion world touched me anymore.
The fashion world is basically just the manifestation of the current state of society that tells ‘what-is-happening-now’, and when I figured that out as well as the tricks, gossip and attitudes, I decided to look further and deeper for something that I would find more challenging. Something where I could fully formulate and create anything that suits me, where I can grow my vision and no longer have to march along in the beaten structures and fixed frameworks, because at the end that’s how it goes.
During my Masters at the art academy, I dedicated two years of fully working on this and it turned out that the ways in which I like to express myself and question things are best reflected in translating research into conceptual/performance art.
It’s something that has always been there, except that it had never come together. Until the point, I got a spirited coach who did understand me in my graduation process and I managed to put the puzzle pieces together with him and his psychoanalytic techniques.
Now it’s almost 4.5 years later and I still feel that the arts and this form are the right way for me to start a conversation with myself, identity, the mode of society and the future.
What inspires, fascinates you in general?
Behaviour, conventions, rhythms, spaces, movements, body, time, nature, disabilities, tactility.
What made you decide to work with performance art as a medium in your work?
In addition to my answer in the 2nd question: through my teachers, I discovered that I, myself, was actually the most interesting and accurate part of my projects during my study. They did a good job spotting this, because the performative aspect in my work, where I use myself as an object and a tool in my research, turned out to be very therapeutic and therefore decisive in properly formulating, developing and translating my vision, identity and the fluidity of those. I came across this medium because I was searching for my own vulnerability and feelings, as these were underdeveloped because of experiences in my youth. Who would be better to research and confront this than me by literally throwing myself in this confrontation?
You have a strong autonomous vision and aesthetic. How do you approach collaboration with other creatives and disciplines?
First of all, that is a nice compliment, thank you!
Besides my own language and aesthetics, I am also very open-minded and postured, genuinely interested and above all curious for others and the world around me. My art allows me to get more in contact with others and to find connections. That includes co-operation. Of course, not every collaboration or job is inspiring or of added value, but that gives me an idea of what I don’t like and I believe that every experience happens for a reason and being open to that is most important. No guts, no glory.
What are the challenges you encounter in your working process?
Constructions, norms and values, prejudice, stereotypical thinking, social behaviour, congested conventions, control constraint, vulnerability, the urge to perform and prove one’s self, money/budget.
Where do my (our) conditioning end, formed by banal actions, routine behaviour and conventions, and where does my (our) autonomy begin? This is a fundamental question within my research and work. The starting point of my work is the confrontation with my identity as a construction; challenging and questioning my own physical and mental conditioning, the associated routine behaviour, daily rhythm and forced control. I try to peel back this conditioning layer for layer. I research this with the help of different techniques that I apply in my performances, within particular these four: emphasize, exaggerate, isolate and repetition.
Can you elaborate on one of your projects that are significant in your portfolio?
One of my most important works is the My Self series, for which I research the Self and the identification process. For example, in the 3rd part titled INTERVENING SPACE: My Self, the Body (2018) I research my internal body sounds during an intimate live performance. I work as purely as possible with transformed equipment that exposes the sounds from inside my body to the outside and the space around me, but without using any software or computers. I presented this work for the first time during SXSW (South By SouthWest) in Texas, the USA in co-operation with The Living Museum. An interesting aspect of this project is that the audience usually associates it with a ‘cyborg’ or a robot figure, while to me this work is about researching and showing the purest, most unconditioned form of me as a human being at that very moment. This creates a connection to the current mentality and I use this for further research because my works are never completely finished as the process is the work.
Have you ever collaborated with fashion designers before?
Yes, many times. An example is an INTERVENING SPACE: The Time Ceremony (2015) which I developed with Dutch fashion designer Barbara Langendijk. I have worked with Maison the Faux on creating an online performance: INTERVENING SPACE: Pattern Making (2015). And I have worked with fashion designer Duran Lantink several times. The last time was during Dutch Design Week 2017, where I exhibited a four-day live performance concept at the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven to go with his creations.
How do you relate your work in the context of fashion design?
Both are about ascertaining developments within the mode of society and the following translation and visualization of that moment to the public. My findings are often an indication from a critical point of view. Both are prognoses.
Fashion is still often only related to clothing, shopping, wearability, textile, styling, etc. But in my opinion, fashion can be elevated to art objects arising out of a strong concept. For example Iris van Herpen or Alexander McQueen: they both present(ed) haute couture that shows conceptualization, technique, a critical view and above all a strong vision.
Looking at the contemporary fashion scene and developments, could you share designers or initiatives you find relevant?
The first ones coming to mind are Iris van Herpen, Maison the Faux, Duran Lantink, Bas Kosters, Ninamounah, Schueller de Waal and Hardeman.
Can you tell us what the concept was behind the campaign project for FASHIONCLASH Festival?
Instead of a collection of colour, shape and material, Lonneke and I wanted to bring the image back to the essence: the pure. We tried to find the statement of the ‘clash’ in an image and let go of fashion and put creation and search for boundaries within different disciplines in a broader perspective. That’s why we started experimenting with transparency, in a figural and literal sense. It was mostly about the interaction between Produced, Nature and Transparency.
I tried to become a literal blank canvas. With my body, I tried to find the boundaries of transparency and ‘being’ and to combine this with other materials that are inspired by the above.
How did you experience the co-creation process with Lonneke van der Palen?
Lonneke and I have known each other for several years, which made the project very fun to do. However, this was our first time working together and we were very enthusiastic about it. We agreed that instead of just carrying out the assignment, we wanted to get together to brainstorm about the concept because we both bring different views and expertise. We think we have succeeded within the short amount of time we were given. This made the collaboration on set extra easy.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
I am extremely excited to dive into my current research about ‘’narcissistic bodily behaviour’’ to find even more meaning and hopefully develop a sequence of my latest work titled INTERVENING SPACE: The Mirror (2019). Besides that, I am also teaching creative guest lectures and workshops about my vision for about 4.5 years now and that I’ll be continuing as well. A fruitful, applied and inspiring way to make a real difference and to research and interact with different ways of thinking at any age.
And not to forget, I am also working on several other future projects, among which is my work trip to Japan.
Upcoming projects and events where we can see your work?
Yes, in May I will present the film of my performance work My Self, the Body, shot and edited by Rob Schröder and Gabrielle Provaas, in London during an exhibition. I will also perform my work My Self, the Bladder together with a selection of other works of the My Self series at The Loft, A’dam Tower in May this year. I update my ‘upcoming and past exhibitions and performances’ page on my website regularly, so check it out if you’re interested!
Anything else you would like to share?
Don’t hesitate to contact me. I am always open to new and interesting proposals and co-operation! www.lisetteros.com