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The disintegration of body: contemporary fashion and new media

Petra Krpan ; University of Zagreb

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The work, titled The Disintegration of Body: Contemporary Fashion and New Media explores the possibilities of body as a subject of contemporary fashion within new media. Can we still speak of the subject of contemporary fashion in the era of new media? Applying various theoretical frameworks by – respectively – Jean Baudrillard, Roland Barthes, Gilles Lipovetsky, Yuni Kawamura and others, this work aims to demonstrate a manner in which the fragmentation of identity in contemporary fashion arises. Contemporary fashion is revealed as a condition for body’s existence in new media, since it possesses the permanent capacity for revisiting the past. The potentials of bodies in new media within the contemporary fashion’s form lay inside the processes of constant morphing and fragmentation. These processes influence forming the identity of contemporary fashion’s subject. The identity of contemporary fashion’s subject is now destroying the existent whole, in which it was previously acting. The impossibility of finding the identity comes from the fluidity and constant acceleration of new media. In this manner a fluid identity is formed. The impossibility of fixating the identity – and therefore of fixating the body in contemporary fashion within the new media activity – is a consequence of new media’s simulation. Contemporary fashion is being articulated as a new language pertaining to a fashion system. The question of time and space in the context of text, image and body opens up the debate on whether digital technology has changed the traditional manner of understanding the relation between reality and its construction or, rather the contrary, the technology of creating new digital image has influenced the contemporary art’s imagination, by linking the previously separated fields of sensorium. The arising questions touch on possibilities of the originality of body in new media and body’s destiny in contemporary fashion. Which is a role of the subject of contemporary fashion and, moreover, which is a role of the subject of new media in general? Is it the case that today new media are actually the condition for subject’s existence? Despite the peculiar amputation, new media form both the body and the perception of body. What is being demonstrated and shown in new media’s simulation is neither real nor fake body. The result is that the body in contemporary fashion is displaying the visible consequences of morphing, fragmentation and immersion. Can we continue to speak of the subject of contemporary fashion? If we know that the subject is lost in the web through the fragmentation of identity, then we have to emphasize that substance is failing to appear in actual subject’s forming. All the bodies within the system of contemporary fashion become codified. The body disintegrates and breaks the whole, wherein it was active before. The disintegration of the whole leads towards the split of body in new media. New media now define what will the body be like. However, this is not in McLuhan’s anthropological sense, where media are the extensions of senses. The body in contemporary fashion cannot exist without new media, since the latter don’t provide fashion with possibility for adaptation within web, within levitation between no-place and no-time. The body in contemporary fashion and new media is disintegrated, a union between animate and inanimate, a reflection of the world image we are living in today.

Ključne riječi

new media, contemporary fashion, body, identity, subject, fragmentation

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