PRINT Summer 1991


IN DESIGN AND FASHION as in war, to apply camouflage and makeup to an object or living body is to put its identity in play. There is an ambiguity: the thing is confused with its context, and attention is deflected from its true character. A clothed or made-up body can confuse the distinction between the sexes, just as a wrapped or painted object can become indecipherable, can deceive one as to its nature. Made up or masked, the man becomes a mannequin and the object becomes a machine. The female and the male, the technological and the natural, the functional and the decorative, abandon their separateness for a multiple existence in which all these qualities intermingle.

This fluctuation of identity produces a hermaphroditism of signs, a play of equivalency between parts, each lost in and opening up to the other. The encounter tends, then, toward the erotic, toward a reciprocal attraction

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