S T E P O N E:
In order to successfully withdraw from a system you must first know something about the system and also be very clear about the diverse ways in which you are engaged in that system. Choose your system and brainstorm your relationship to it. Consider the strategies you will employ to exit or avoid that system.
As I was writing my How to Disappear from Animal Cruelty Systems Guide for Seminar, I realized that although I have been actively trying to reduce my harm to animals by eating a plant-based diet and abstaining from animal tested products, I have not payed enough attention to the materials in my clothing that comes from the pain of animals (besides not purchasing real fur coats and leather jackets). I started looking in the labels of my coats and realized all of them had a percentage of wool, which is obtained through the torture and abuse of sheep. I never thought about how my favorite boots and sneakers were made of real leather and I realized that because of my ignorance, I am still actively engaged in a cruel system towards animals.
While researching for my Seminar disappearance guide, I came across these videos with short footages that reveal the cruelties of the down and wool industries, which inspired my disappearance proposal below. Here are the links to the videos (warning: VERY graphic. Do not watch if you can’t handle blood.)
Animals are tortured for human fashion statements. I can exit the system by purchasing faux fur, which looks just like real fur and is a cheaper and friendlier alternative. The same applies to faux leather. I can start to read the inside labels of clothing and shoes to find out whether there are leather, cashmere, wool, or silk components. I will never buy down products – many coats contain down, which are feathers forcefully plucked from birds until their skin bleeds. The down industry does not care about the pain of these birds and continuously stitches their torn skin back up for more feathers. The same cruelties apply to cashmere (from goats), wool (from sheep), and silk (from silkworms) manufacturing. Instead, we can purchase alternatives such as cotton, linen, and synthetics including acrylic, polyester, and nylon.
S T E P T W O:
Proposal: Cruelty-Free Fashion
Performance Aspect: I will come into class wearing a completely cruelty-free outfit, disappearing from the system of animal cruelty involved with fashion. This means no leather, wool, silk, real fur, or cashmere.
Artistic Documentation: Using Adobe Photoshop, I will create a visual poster (most likely 11×17″) that will include pictures of everything I will be wearing (clothing, shoes, makeup, accessories), explanations of my choices, and the cruelty-free materials involved in each piece of article.
S T E P T H R E E:
Notes from Class on How to Disappear in America Video
An artwork that I found very interesting from the video is a drawing by Belgian artist Francis Ellis, who mapped out the path of least surveillance in London city, which is considered the most surveilled city on earth. He calls getting through the city in an unseen manner the “Clandestine Way.” I really enjoy the hand-drawn quality of the pen line, showing Ellis’ research and thought process, contrasting with a mass-printed map.