Stacy Scibelli - Suit Yourself: Bushwick 2013 <|>
Suit Yourself: Bushwick 2013

This portion of my website is dedicated to the documentation of a month long performance, of a sort, for which I am attempting to design and construct my clothing every day for the duration of 30 days.  These pieces double as functional apparel, but are first and foremost formal wall sculptures.  With a background in both design and fine art, it is of the utmost importance for me to balance these two concepts (form and function) as evenly and as successfully as possible.  Each day I am responsible for designing and constructing all items I will need to wear for the following day, including undergarments.  This ritualistic and repetitive process is intended to conjure a comfortable and utilitarian flow within the studio space, an act that can instill subversive transcendence and thought processes.  Each day I will be posting images of the sculptures displayed on the wall, followed by photographs of the pieces as they are worn on the body.  I will also be documenting the trials and tribulations of this experience though this venue.

Stacy Scibelli
July 09, 2013 - Eliminating Guilt

I feel as though I have been experiencing a lot of guilt as I embark on this project.  I guess at any given time I could probably identify something that I feel guilty about, even if it is a small thing, but lately it has been bugging me that it is the emotion that I feel most of the time, especially when it comes to my practice.  I think that I feel guilty for taking this time to execute this project.  A project, which, on the surface, and in all its most basic structure, could be viewed as self indulgent, which is something I fear terribly.  I mean, I hardly work right now, except for some freelance here and there, and I spend all day making clothes for myself.  In my heart of hearts I know that this is an important project and I do trust myself fully in this, but there is a nagging voice that has a hard time justifying this absurdity, just because it is in the name of art.  I truly do think that everything should be done in the name of art, and by this I mean that every action should be filled with meaning and sincerity, I suppose more that art should be executed in the name of life, but spending all day alone in a room cutting abstract shapes out of fabric for eight days can cause you to digress.  I think it is also the futility behind this project that has been making me feel this way as well, the Sisyphean nature of the whole thing.  I didn't feel it so much in the beginning because I was leaving the house at least once a day, but there have been a couple of days that I have put on the clothing that I made and never even went into the public with it on.  And it is not that I need to show it off, but it definitely accentuates the pointlessness of it, or at least the importance of an audience in a way.

I finished listening (audiobooks in the studio are essential) to Michael Pollan's new book entitled Cooked tonight.  I love his work, and this might just be my favorite of his books that I have read thus far.  It hit at the heart of so much of what I believe when it comes to food and self reliance and the act of learning new skills through sharing which in turn leads to more learning and sharing.  He talks about culture and sociology through not only food itself, but all processes circulating around the production, preparation, and consumption of "cooked" food.  It was so wonderful and I suggest it to anyone, as it is not a book about food or about cooking but about humanity and biology and culture.  It actually made me feel a lot less guilty about this project, as it emphasizes the reasons that we do certain things against convenience and logic, and that these actions are hardly leisure based, but rather enriching and meaningful acts of grace, generosity, and transcendence.  I am not sure that my actions embody these qualities, but it is with that attitude that I believe we should all carry out our daily lives.

Stacy Scibelli
July 26, 2013 - Home Stretch

You would think that the last bit of this would be the easiest.  On the contrary, however, I am finding these last few days to be the hardest of all.  I am not sure if this is because I am ready to wrap this thing up, or if it is because I have to make more concrete and conclusive decisions, since I don't have a whole month to allow my ideas to spread across anymore.  Sometimes placing limits on things gives you this great expanse of space to play around in, through locating barriers you can find the greatest distance within those walls - just like a cat will find a way to run the length of an apartment like honing the best shot on a pool table.  But now that those barriers have their own limits, I find myself not being able to fit in all that I want to, running out of time, like I can't ever sew anything with these intentions after this is all over with.  I know it is absurd, but the luxury of having this purpose, even if totally self inflicted, is something that I cherish.  Life can so easily eclipse the things you care about deeply, without you ever questioning it.  Prioritizing what is in your heart over what your brain knows to be right can really fuck with you.  I cannot believe the amount of energy and convincing it has taken for me to even accept that art can triumph over life for just one month in my own personal realm.  I already feel nostalgia for this practice, a bittersweet one for sure, as this has been hard work.   It is sad to see this moment pass, which is what I am feeling in this Sunday portion of the project, the August of its lifespan, the time right before change comes, where you are tired of the old but hold fast to the comfort and familiarity of the fleeting now.  I fear what is next, I fear it will not culminate.  I fear the valleys.  I fear that I may not be able to prioritize what my heart wants always.  And that is a sinking feeling, like the death of something you know doesn't deserve it.  

Stacy Scibelli
July 27, 2013 - Cling Tightly to This Life

Is it natural to fall into cycles?  Are these patterns indicative of a serial reliance on a structural crutch?  I was thinking today of a friend of a friend, someone I have never met, but who somewhat recently quit his job and embarked on a year long journey across the globe.  Again, I do not know this person, but it sounded like the work he had been engaging in suddenly reared its unfulfilling head and left him with a bit of an existential crisis.  Of all of the people I know who have come to this crossroads in their life, I believe this man has returned the serve dealt to him by life questions and dilemmas quite bravely.  So infrequently do we shed the comforts of the known to flee into the abyss of mystery and wonder that exists in the rest of the world.  To me, it is a virtuous way to try to understand value and quality in the world (see: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) and to try to find a way to interact in this world without harming others and with the hope of potentially even bettering this world.  I sometimes try to convince myself that art is something that is good for the earth, that it feeds the collective soul and enriches more than just me.  My work is not political, it is not even really clear in its point of view sometimes, but it is strident in its insistence on being, through me.  Like the notion of a genius spirit, I can sometimes feel as though these ideas live through me, that I am a simple catalyst in their creation, not a pawn or a tool, as it is a collaboration, but these things do not always feel as they come from some entirety of spirit that is Stacy.  The artist Janine Antoni  spoke about a  piece that she made recently where she planted a "love letter" of sorts in the pockets of people who checked their coats at a show at a museum.  The letter was a letter of admiration, written from the point of view of an art piece, as though the object was seduced by the viewer, and analyses the quiet, intimate interaction that can, and should, occur between the art and the viewer.  The letter is ambiguous though, and it can at first glance seem as though it was written by a person.

When she spoke about this piece, she described her work as children that she sends out into the world, hoping for the best, but being unable to control and help them once they are out on their own.  I found this to be lovely and poetic. She spoke about looking at the world through the lens of the art itself, rather than as an artist responsible for these actions.  It is not that I seek to shirk this responsibility that we have as artists to be socially conscious and aware of the fact that our work does speak for us, but it also speaks for all of humanity, and therein lies not one voice, but many many interpretations that must be free to become.

If anyone is interested, the traveling man has a facebook blog, I suggest you read it, if you are not totally turned off to blogs after reading this one!  It is honest and inspiring.

Stacy Scibelli
July 31, 2013 - Empire State of Mind

So this is it.  The last day.  The last piece.  The last outfit.  The last blog entry.  I decided ahead of time to make this piece out of a beautiful piece of red stretch wool I had picked up a few weeks ago.  I wanted it to be simple.  I chose red because a woman in a red dress is always striking and it carries with it so many connotations.  I also wanted to shout a tiny call out to Jill Magid's piece where she wears the red trench coat and allows herself to be tracked by a surveillance team.  None of this is important really, but I figured it was worth mentioning.  I also had decided early on that I would take the day to go up to the top of the Empire State Building, as I have never been in all of the years that I have lived here in New York.  I even used to work in the area and walked by every day for approximately six years.  I cannot believe I waited this long to do this.  Perhaps it was so potent because I had been quarantined to my studio and Brooklyn for the past 31 days, but I was utterly awed by the scope and perspective at that height overlooking this mind-numbingly massive feat of human ingenuity.  I have come to appreciate this city this year, in ways I hadn't in the past, but this brought me to a different level.  I wavered back and forth from overwhelming physical and emotional reactions.  As I looked over the edge to the concrete below, I could feel the inner walls of my organs quiver with a carnal fear and intense awareness of death.  But then my mind would distract as it tried to wrap itself around the sheer immense volume - volume of bodies, volume of cement, volume of everything.  All of these bodies stacked one on top of another in these buildings, acting as one, but each with some individual creed, drive, desire, dream.  The buildings, these stanchions of power without grace and generators of energy, how easy it is when you are at ground level to forget the absolute mammoth nature of the giant buildings, what feats of strength, engineering, and commitment they are.  One would think you would have the opposite reaction, feeling the presence more from the ground, but seeing them from above, it seemed much more obvious to me.  I was also struck by the flatness of such massive dimension, again calling attention to how far I actually was from the texture and weathered surface of these totems.  Did I feel pride for these geometric giants, compact and cohesive in their ancient grayness?  Watching the cars and people on the streets below, I could have traveled back in time to the essence of what New York is, to its representations and manifestations through time that have always reached desperately towards encapsulating its incredible power.  Even just walking the perimeter of the observatory felt a little like time travel, five steps could give you an entirely different view and perspective.  You could travel 50 city blocks by craning your neck.  This was better than flying.  I will say that I might have been the only one there actually looking.  Everyone else seemed to need to view it all through their camera lens or iphone screen.  If there is one thing I do not like about technology (and let's be honest, there are many, but this one is worrisome), it is when people fail to live an experience, as they are too busy scrambling helplessly to cling tightly to a representation of the exact moment that is passing them by.  As if it will help them to remember it, or memorialize it and make it more potent as it is recorded.  That being said, I did ask the guard what the quietest time of day is and he said 1:00am (apparently it is open until 2:00am, and I think I saw a sign that says there is jazz at midnight some nights.  What?  If you can't find me, surely this is where I will be).  Sometimes 8:00am is quiet too, he said.

So to come full circle here, I wasn't entirely sure why I wanted to go do this today, on this last day, to commemorate the completion, but it became apparent once I was up there.  Seeing this city from its namesake landmark, and from 1,050 feet up in the air, brought light to what we are capable of as human beings.  If you are feeling hopeless about humanity, feeling as though we are only destructive pests, go to the top of the Empire State Building.  It could possibly remind you that we do incredible deeds, that we can conceive and build entire empires with our measly bodies and hands.  It might remind you that, yes we are animals and can do evil on one another, but we can also imagine the impossible and bring dreams into reality.  Some day, New York will be ruins, and future generations will look back at what we had done and wonder how we were able to persevere without certain technologies that don't exist yet.  And the future will marvel at this present, and forget about all of our neglect.  My act was humbled by these thoughts, but I was still proud of the gesture, as it felt a little like an homage to this energy and drive that exists within us all to build something spectacular and outlandish.

Sometimes I look at my family as an Empire.  The scale of perception can vary, what you behold as valuable is up to you, and kings and queens are only a state of mind.

Thank you all for reading, thank you for your support in all of its manifestations.  I hope that I have inspired some sort of something in some of you, that you take something away from this, as that is the best I can hope for when I put something like this out into the world.  I love you all and I am grateful.

Stacy Scibelli