Research as object, towards a material and cultural investigation

ten Bhomer, Marloes (2017) Research as object, towards a material and cultural investigation. In: Thornquist, Clemens and Bigolin, Ricarda, (eds.) Everything and everybody as material : beyond fashion design methods. Boras, Sweden : The School of Fashion and Textiles, RMIT University and The Swedish School of Textiles, University of Boras. pp. 220-225. ISBN 9789188269799


A Measurable Factor Sets the Conditions of its Operation is an ongoing research project and series of publicly exhibited materials Marloes ten Bhömer originally developed through the Stanley Picker Research Fellowship at Kingston University. The regimented traditional methods of production and use of materials within the footwear industry are closely linked to and associated with specific shoe styles. Working with these methods can lead to style clichés and subsequent footwear designs that conform women to role affirming style identities such as sporty, slutty, androgynous etc. With the project ten Bhömer aimed to rethink the ways in which shoes are designed by shirking traditional approaches, instead employing a method based on the study of structural parameters – derived from anatomical and kinematic studies – required to support a high-heeled foot while in motion. The consequences of my research methodology are two-fold: By treating the ‘woman in motion’ as an engineering problem, I expose the high-heeled shoe as a cultural ‘problem’ while at the same time questioning the connotations of engineering as they seem informed by the object at hand.

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