In this iteration I am running the city. I wanted to have this character running not walking the city, as running in this congested space seems like a subversive act. Running to me, harnesses a sense of power and freedom in a way that walking may not. And running when not in running clothes interestingly becomes something completely different and somehow dangerous.
I have been interested in the early suffragettes in Australia. An ABC documentary, 'Utopia Girls' explores the early little known suffragettes of Australia who lived at the time of the flaneur. This led me in the direction of Bloomerism. Bloomerism was an early form of dress reform in the mid 1800's. Named after the American Amelia Bloomer, who pioneered the bloomers. Bloomers were down to the ankle trousers, that were to be worn under the dress and the dress or skirt could then be raised to knee height for less restricted movement. This simple reform was considered radical in it's day and was met with a lot of resistance. Both Caroline Dexter and Henrietta Dugdale were two suffragettes who lived in Melbourne for a period and campaigned for this cause.
I wanted to run the city for the cause of Bloomerism as a way to both acknowledge the campaigners of the past and the idea that such practical dress reform could be considered as something so radical. In wearing black I wanted to literally carve out a silhouetted space for the women of the past, as I ran with my Bloomer flag throughout the city.
This incursion became another retrospective performative claim to space as I was running to assert space for those women of the past. I was also making a performative claim to space in the contemporary as through the act of running the city in a way that did not meet the expectations of everyday city behaviour, I was producing a space that resisted and possibly shifted representations of space in that moment in time.
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