Immersion from Colleen Allen on Vimeo.






My “change viewer” is a garment, which restrains its wearer in order to allow them to experience uninhibited reality. By restraining themselves, they are put in a position of slowing down, free from the distractions of technology and daily life. I have created a shirt and skirt, which I wear in a performance piece that demonstrates its intended use. The garment becomes ritualistic, putting the wearer in a physical and mental state of exploration and experience just as a shaman utilizes sacred garments and costumes. This experience is embedded in the pattern I have created for the garment. I want my wearer to physically experience the changing environment around them. Firstly, I want the wearer to experience the ground beneath their feet. We don’t understand the state of the soil we live on because we avoid it. We wear shoes and walk quickly avoiding a physical relationship the ground. The skirt is tied so that it slows the wearer down, and they are forced to walk slowly. It is encouraged to walk barefoot to fully experience the garments intentions. The sleeves of the shirt are tied behind the back of the wearer so that they are encouraged to look up at the sky instead of down at their phone. By examining the sky they can see the state of the clouds and the sunsets, which are both air quality indicators.


Through different ways of experiencing my change viewer, there are multiple intended audiences. The garment I have created was intended to fit me so that I could wear it for its performance documentation. So this piece of clothing itself, would fit a body type from a women’s size 0-4, but could easily be recreated to fit any size or gender. By creating a performance documentation of the garment, I hope that through me, a wider audience experience of what the piece has to offer. I aspire to encourage all people from any location to slow down and physically take in the environment around them. I chose to make my garment out of a cotton blend because it was a more organic choice of material. While creating this pattern, I reference straightjacket techniques for both the shirt and skirt. The sleeves of the shirt are extremely long, reaching the floor, which can be tied together behind the wearers back. The skirt has ties on the sides of this skirt, which can be tied and tightened in the front and back of the skirt to a desired tightness, essentially tying together the legs.


I hope that my piece will allow my audience to experience and realize that the world around them really is changing, to an extent of viewable physical signs. By doing so, I hope to rid them of any doubts about climate change and inspire urgency about how to act in ways that are more resilient. If they are aware of the soil beneath their feet, perhaps they will see how they can add nutrients through organic farming techniques. Climate change is such a difficult and complex subject, making it overwhelming to approach. But these small realizations are catalysts for understanding and change on a greater scale.

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