In MoDiP we like to support and respond to various activities that happen across the AUB. This term our cultural partner TheGallery has been hosting a magnificent exhibition about fashion and diversity. Body Beautiful: Diversity on the Catwalk embraces inclusivity and body positivity and is open until 29 April 2022. The MoDiP team have been helping to invigilate the space and have enjoyed seeing the visitors exploring the themes and displays.
Invigilating the Body Beautiful: Diversity on the Catwalk exhibition to support our AUB colleagues. Image credit: L. Dennis
We have also put together our own exhibition in response to the theme of fashion and diversity. Body beautiful: plastics, looks at how this group of materials play an important role in empowering us to manage our own identity by enabling us to maintain and restore our bodies, enhance and transform our shape, and express our individuality.
Maintaining and restoring our bodies
Plastics have contributed to the development of prosthetic devices due to their wide range of mechanical, electrical, chemical and thermal qualities. They are inert, non-toxic and durable, with the ability to perform in the precise environmental conditions found within the human body. Different types of prosthetics are designed to achieve different objectives. For example, some are designed predominantly for appearance, to look as realistic as possible, whilst others are purely functional, designed with usability as their main purpose.
Objects in this case:
- Artificial eye, Cantor and Nissel, 2019. AIBDC : 008357
- Hip joint, Jean and Robert Judet, circa 1946-1954. AIBDC : 007807
- Acrylic denture, Unknown, circa 1950-1999. AIBDC : 008394
- Synthetic foot, Dorset Orthopaedic, 2019. AIBDC : 008380
|Artificial eye and hip joint. Image credit: L. Dennis|
Denture and leg. Image credit: L. Dennis
Enhancing and transforming our shape
In all cultures the human body has, at some point, been enhanced or artificially transformed to create a silhouette which conforms to traditions or fashions of the day. Whether trying to achieve an hourglass figure, a curve-less form, or a more toned, athletic build, plastics materials can provide the required structure and support.
From synthetic ‘whalebone’ to elastane shapewear and silicone enhancing pads, this case exhibits a range of garments designed to target specific areas of the body.
Objects in this case:
- Synthetic whalebone, Unknown, 2019. AIBDC : 008365
- Zoned performance tank, Spanx, 2015. AIBDC : 007090
- Butt enhancing pants, Sodacoda, 2020. AIBDC : 008388
- Wonderbra, Louise Poirier, 1995. AIBDC : 000670
|Spanx tank and Wonderbra. Image credit: L. Dennis|
There are many ways in which people can express individuality. We can do it through the clothes we wear and the way we conduct ourselves. We can also change our appearance temporarily, through wearing removable jewellery, hairpieces and false nails, as well as more permanently, by adopting piercings and 3-dimensional tattoos. Whilst body modification has been practised around the world for thousands of years using a variety of natural materials, more recently biocompatible plastics have become increasingly common, particularly for those objects implanted under the skin.
Objects in this case:
- Maasai armlet, Gelai Bomba village, 2010. AIBDC : 008451
- Amelia wig, Hairaisers, 2010. AIBDC : 006113
- Fabulously Flirty eyeimpact false eyelashes, Girls with Attitude, 2010. AIBDC : 006030
- Nailene Perfect Toes false toenails, Pacific World Corp, 2010. AIBDC : 006033
- 10mm acrylic ear plug, Unknown, circa 2010s. AIBDC : 008418.1
- 5mm acrylic ear plug, Unknown, circa 2010s. AIBDC : 008418.2
- Acrylic buffalo pincher, Unknown, circa 2010s. AIBDC : 008419
- 8mm hider plug, Unknown, circa 2010s. AIBDC : 008421
- Flexible ear tunnels, circa 2010s. AIBDC : 008422, 008455, 008456
- Subdermal horn implants, Steve Haworth, 2019. AIBDC : 008423.1 & 2
- Heart subdermal implant, Steve Haworth, 2019. AIBDC : 008424
- Half bead subdermal implant, Steve Haworth, 2019. AIBDC : 008425
- Anchor subdermal implant, Steve Haworth, 2019. AIBDC : 008426
We look forward to the next opportunity we get to support our colleagues and be inspired by the work they are doing.
Louise Dennis, Curator of MoDiP