Textile Memory looks at garments as containers of personal memory. Clothes are vessels that simultaneously conceal and reveal the bodies that pass through them; framing and presenting the body at times of prosperity or poverty, sheltering the body during times of change. Fabric, its origins and its social context, can reveal personal stories at moments in time. This project considers garments as a weave of personal and collective memory, following diachronic threads of displacement, instability, political oppression; of searching for a new home, through times of recovery.
The project is also interested in garments that have multiple bodies passing through them: the discarded shells in second-hand shops, do they have a memory of overlapping usage? In the present time of booming fast fashion, do temporary clothes create a short-lived memory? The garments that the interviewees speak about are mainly created out of lasting material, a well-made container to live in and to live with. Having a memory container that is short termed, temporary, designed to be replaced, is there time to make any memories in them? Is there a sense of longing for a perfect garment that did not last past 20 washes?
Together with mobile devices and potential for nano tech improvement, we as consumers already consider smart clothes as the next obvious step. This is where consumer data monitoring might integrate itself even closer to our bodies – and to our minds, limiting our capacity to make subjective memories and re-tell them with foggy details, unclear facts, constant changing characters. Our clothing will record our heart rate at a special moment of remembrance: an imbalance in foot surface pressure during a first kiss, or an uneven posture during our first job interview. Our firsts might
not only be ours, and they’ll also become just another piece of data to build our advertising profiles with.