ceci est un magazin de vêtements watches films
ceci est un magasin de vêtements is a project by five people with different backgrounds: visual art, fashion, architecture and anthropology.
Until the end of october 2012 we will run a boutique without clothes in Schaarbeek/ Brussels.
We use this contradictory set-up as a place in fluctuation where text, objects (clothes), people and space meet.
The film-screening is part of our research. Since each of us has a particular access to the matter, we start the project by trying to find out more about our respective approaches, the common grounds and the differences.
Each of the four films is known but to the person who selected it in order to highlight a specific idea or concept that seems relevant for the project.
We thought it might as well be nice to share these films with you.
Notebooks on Cities and Clothes, 1989, Wim Wenders, engl orig, 79 min
Notebooks on Cities and Clothes is a cinematographic diary by Wim Wenders. Wenders is not parti- cularly a fashion lover but when the Centre Pompidou asks him to make a small film in the context of fashion the only thing he can think of is going to Tokyo to meet the fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto. He wonders how it is possible that the designer makes clothes that feel old and new at the same time. What kind of power and knowledge has this Yohji Yamamoto to make you feel more ‘you’ wearing his clothes. The films is a diary about the the creative process of making fashion and ponders the relationship between cities, identity and the cinema in the digital age.
Foto and Copyright by G.P. Fieret, 2009, Frank Van den Engel,
dutch orig, subtl english, 50 min
Photographer Gerard Petrus Fieret treated his photos, most of which he took in the 1960s, in a way that would horrify other photographers or collectors. He was careless with chemicals, piled wet photos on top of one another so they stuck together, and stamped his name in critical places. In this portrait, director Frank van den Engel goes looking for the world hidden behind this exceptional and eccentric talent. He interviews colleagues, former models, and collectors, and visits the photogra- pher in his completely neglected, decrepit house.
We want to show this film because of the method which the cinematographer Van den Engel applies when interviewing Fierets former models. This method is called ‘elicitation-technique’. Photo-elicitation, object- elicitation or video-elicitation are a qualitative research method that pro- vide a means to understand people on a higher level: such as their points of view, their beliefs and how they look at their worlds. The elicitation technique differs from interviewing because the parti- cipants themselves create their own images, or use images/ objects as a means to present their points of view.The concept of elicitation implies that you go further than ‘asking questions’. The idea is that, after careful consideration, the researcher chooses the means in order ‘to seduce’ the informants to provide useful information.
An important advantage of the elicitation technique is that the researcher leaves the initiative and thus the interpretation frameworks to the informants. For example when doing an object elicitation with somemone’s personal wardrobe, you can ask very concrete questions about the way the person treats their clothes. Because the person is in direct contact with their wardrobe they are more likely to spontaneously disclose information about important details and issues that have to do with this subject.
Il Palazzo, 2006, Katharina Copony, ital orig, engl subt, 45 min
‘Corviale’, is a ten-storey housing block in the periphery of Rome.
It has been built from 1975-1982 and is 958 km long, 8000 people are living there.
In the documentary ‘Il palazzo’ the building is shown in it’s enormous length, how it ‘dwells’ in the suburban landscape. The film shows parts of the interior but only once or twice the camera follows someone into an apartment. People are filmed, but interview situations are avoided. The closest the film gets to an individual person is when it shows some of the daily routines of an old man who is living in the building since decades. An important element of the film is the sound. Comments by people are generally introduced as voice-overs.
Wikipedia says that ‘Corviale’, or ‘il palazzone’, or ‘il serpentone’ (the big snake) as people dubbed it, is the most faithful realization of the agenda of CIAM* in Europe*. Theories, ideas and ideals, the specific political and social circumstances, all aspects which account for the planning and realization of building projects, undergo changes, get overridden, modified, abandoned with time passing. Corviale however is still there, as massive as ever. Buildings like this, from the period of the ‘modernism for the masses’, nowadays often have a bad reputation or in fact are places where urban and social problems accumulate.
I have the feeling though, that the images of the documentary depict something else (a potential).
A building, as any other object, can and will most likely be appropriated by people. Each act of appropriation is to me like an agreement between a person and an object: the person who alters the object with a certain intention and the object that offers certain qualities (a rubber object can be bent, a wooden object can be burnt etc). A building where 8000 people live will undergo, every day and over time, very, very many acts of appropriation. Each of them may be little but altogether they might build up to something.
In this sense the building I see in the documentary is like a newly discovered species about which we hardly know anything, or like a spaceship with it’s alien passengers just about to debark.
* The demand for more light, more air, better sanitary circumstances than the ones the dense city-centers were accused to provide, and the idea to avoid the destruction of landscape by uncontrolled urban sprawl (just to name the most reproduced features).
The Importance of Being Elegant 2004, George Amponsah & Cosima
Spender, french orig, subtl engl, 70 min
This is the story of one of the most unusual clubs in the world: La SAPE. Its members, the Sapeurs, come from the Democratic Republic of Congo and have elevated fashion to the status of a religion. Despite extreme economic hardships the Sapeurs will only settle for ultra-expensive labels such as: Roberto Cavalli, Versace, Issey Miyake and Burberry. How do they afford these luxury items? Des- pite the fact that their financial position is not always good they will not make any concessions in their choice of clothing. The film follows this subculture in Paris and Bruxelles, and also its spiritual leader Papa Webma who is «Le Roi De La Sape».
From an anthropological point of view this film is interesting because it shows how local values are expressed in universal symbols. In Congo wealth means respect and power. Sapeurs express their wealth via what is globally seen and recognized as prestigious namely extremely expensive designer clothes.
In addition De Sapeurs express their identity and status on the basis of clothes, which are facets that are also relevant in our film project.