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Dylan Trigg



I found some great posts on a blog called Side Effects by PhD student Dylan Trigg at the University of Sussex in the UK. I'm not sure exactly how I found my way there from Things (my favorite!), but I did also find among my bookmarks a link for his recent book The Aesthetics of Decay. While his main interests aren't exactly on target with mine (place, architecture, urban decay seem to top his list as opposed to my interests in the body, clothing, and emotion), we do have several areas in common (time, memory, light & shadow).

The quotes I loved are:
If, as architect Sverre Fehn has suggested, the creation of a shadow constitutes the origin of place, then how does this interplay between the place of shadows and the openness of light form a dialectics of memory?

Instead of viewing this relation between shadows and light as a transitional phase, in which shadowed place eventually gives rise to the clarity of light, let us think of the relation as the formation of a dialectic between presence/absence, inside/out, and process/stasis. Here, negativity and positivity appear as shifting perspectives, spatial patterns which reach a limit and then disperse.

If a shadow is also its double, so invoking an inherently temporal dimension, then it deserves to be held apart from the perception of light. We are in the midst of the texture of surface, a texture comprised from the jagged, uneven unfolding of shadows, shades, and modulating terrains.

From this post about shadows. And a few more from the follow-up:
Indeed, such is the centrality of light to the formation of place that Junichiro Tanizaki, author of In Praise of Shadows, is prepared to state that: “In making for ourselves a place to live, we first spread a parasol to throw a shadow on the earth, and in the pale light of the shadow we put together a house” (p. 28). Further still, Tanizaki goes on to describe how Japanese design orients itself around “neutral colors so that the sad, fragile, dying rays can sink into absolute repose” (Ibid., p. 30). The emphasis on the neutrality of space as a platform on which shadows form underscores the dynamic texturing of surfaces, as both morphing and enduring in time.

In all of these quotes Trigg is writing about places, but i think these ideas translate well to my interests in clothing right now. I'm developing some new work based on my Shadow Dress that was exhibited at School last year. It got a great reception and I've recently been thinking I should push my ideas a bit farther.

Trigg also writes a wonderful bit about how modern lighting (he posts a picture of a bland office) virtually eliminates shadows and the implicatioins this has on our experiences in that type of environment. That one goes on a bit so I won't quote it here, some of the posts are quite long and difficult to process. I feel like I've been missing relevent academic reading lately. I'm rather interdisciplinary, or maybe there's just not enough critical new writing about wearing clothes. Either way, I'm really enjoying Mr. Trigg.

A few more links about Dylan Trigg:
Interview about his book, The Aesthetics of Decay
Review of the above book
Article about place & Startbucks