This shop was created in order to remind people (be they men, women, girls or boys) that they are free, that there is true love on earth, and that they are not obligated to follow what others say, neither their parents nor the boss at work, but rather, they can find ways to solve all problems, ways to exist in this world. Their internal world (including all weaknesses, fears, and illusions) is a treasure, despite the brutal reality of everyday life which often argues against this tenderness. In the store, there are very dear things (this means that are hard to part with), and likewise, there are very cheap things. This is in accordance with a desire to make the store truly democratic. Because a dear thing can be given to any person as a reward for what he achieved, or plans to achieve, in life. The things in the store try to converse with the observer about his or her desires, longings, unquenchable hopes and dreams. These things differ from ordinary objects in that they have already conversed with people (other people wore them, and the artist pondered over them.) They are wiser than ordinary things and, it follows, much closer to the human heart. It could be said, that the FNO Shop sells things “inside out,” because unlike ordinary clothing that hides the sensitivities of its wearer as an apparatus of the collective mindset, this clothing actually reveals it. By showing a glimpse of the wearer’s soul, it manifests a relationship to the world as to an ideal lover who understands and accepts you as you are, or even as more than you are. The FNO Shop is functioning as a teaching program, a cognate-analog to the European “workshop,” that includes art therapies that the creators of FFC developed over the course of many years in its practice. In connection with this program, the store does not have ordinary salespeople; by way of contrast, there are more of therapists who are trying to reach together with a customer the level of communication that can help you to solve the problem and get charismatic in a finding your own ways for existing in the society.
The Clothes Workshop (proposal, work in progress so far)
The workshop provides tools for the participants to explore and express their inner reality.
The Artist as Authority figure, Therapist, Mother, Initiator:
The artist performs the role of a guiding (maternal) figure, who initiates the participant into the creative process of the workshop.
This role is more associative than literal, as the main goal of the artist is to encourage participants to engage with internalized ‘authority figures’ -from family relationships, social pressures from peers and commercial, pop cultural influences, in order to question who they are themselves as individuals.
This role is associative rather than literal. The difference being that the purpose of the ‘guiding authority figure’ is ultimately to give back autonomy to the individual, by allowing them to explore and create a critical distance between themselves and their social environment. When this distance is created, the participant is then ‘safe’ to express their emotional reactions towards their social circumstance and influences. When they can separate these reactions towards repression, from their own needs and desires, they can also empathies and relate with the emotional struggles of their peers, family and other influential figures, who are also ‘human’. They must detach in some way from their own struggles with social pressures to conform to the myth of ‘normalcy’, in order to create something that is reflective of their inner reality, personal experiences and the emotions they often hide through their ‘adapted’ social persona. Individuality is not seen here as narcissistic or necessarily rebellious, but as something that exists within a social fabric, with its own unique desires and identity.
Clothing we wear on a daily basis has a familiar presence, it can be safe, something that hides our emotional vulnerability and allows us to fit into social groups. It can be both expressive of while also repressing our sexual identity. It is usually designed by a company’s reaction to a commercial market, that has no relationship with ourselves as unique individuals. How we first learn to express ourselves as individuals comes through clothing, which forms our ‘social body’ or appearance.
Making or ‘individualizing’ your own clothes can reveal in a visual and external way, the internal reality of a person. Which takes the power of influence away from social relationships and pop culture and puts it back in the hands of the individual.
The clothes tell a story:
The participant explores their personal experience within their social environment by telling a story through the process of making or altering an article of clothing. The creative process is an internal one, involving first differentiating then integrating different levels of influence, emotion and image (symbolic) associations.
The act of creating has 2 aspects: the product and the process. The process tells a story of how you arrived at the created object. The object itself is imprinted with this individual journey but has also a ‘life of its own’ in that it is separate from the maker and can be interpreted by other gazes.
This workshop allows the participants to explore their inner reality through the creative process, resulting in a personalised work of art. The clothes from the workshop travel sometimes with the artist as a ‘clothes store’, where the public can witness these stories and try on the clothes.
The artist here performs as story teller, bringing us back to our instinctive roots where stories are passed from generation to generation (usually via the maternal line), as an integral force that guides us through obstacles in life, so that we are challanged but not suppressed by them. Story telling is a way of engaging with the internal reality of individuals who travel through life in stages of development, facing danger and suppression of their individuality along the way. The clothes are a method of modern story telling as they reflect our current environment. As a culture we are more engaged with TV, films, magazines, Mass Media, than with our own indivual stories or to empathize with the personal stories of others. We learn to be passively entertained rather than engage with the learning aspect of stories. We also pass judgement as a collective on others, without understanding the complex system of influences and dynamics that are involved.
By traveling with these stories, the artist explores the nature of different cultural realities, through engagement with the personal stories of young women.
VISITORS AND FANS OF THE UTOPIAN CLOTHES SHOP