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Body Acts Queer. Clothing as a performative challenge to heteronormativity

Body Acts Queer
This artistic, practice-based thesis has been developed based on the idea that design
creates social and ideological change. From this perspective, Body Acts Queer —
Clothing as a performative challenge to heteronormativity introduces an artistic way of
working with and exploring the performative and ideological functions of clothing
with regard to gender, feminism, and queer. The thesis presents this program for
experimental fashion design—exemplified through a series of artistic projects—while
also discussing the foundations of such an approach and the different perspectives that
have affected the program and its artistic examples. Working with clothing and fashion
design through artistic projects using text and bodies, this thesis transforms queer
and feminist theory into a creative process and, by looking into bodily experiences of
clothing, Body Acts Queer investigates its performative and ideological functions, with
a focus on cultural, social, and heteronormative structures. Body Acts Queer suggests
a change in the ways in which bodies act, are perceived, and are produced within the
fashion field, giving examples of—and alternatives to—how queer design practice can
be performed. In this thesis, queer design is explored as an inclusive term, containing
ideas about clothing and language, the meeting point between fiction and reality, and
the ability to perform interpretation and bodily transformations—where pleasure,
bodily experiences, and interaction create a change.
Keywords: Artistic research, design, fashion, ideology, performativity, pleasure, power,
Boras, 2016

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University of Boras