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UAL Research Online

Fat Map Collection for Nobel Textiles

Fox, Shelley (2008) Fat Map Collection for Nobel Textiles. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Fox, Shelley

The Fat Map Collection, consisting of designs for ten dresses, was motivated by the work of the inventor of the MRI scan, Nobel Laureate Sir Peter Mansfield. It focused on body fat-maps: body changes monitored in internal and external body fat, identified in the MRI scans of volunteers supervised by Professor Jimmy Bell (Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Hospital). The collection is based on research into how the body sheds layers as it changes in response to exercise. The resulting garment designs were a record of the ‘inner clothing’ of the body. Mapping internal and external body fat is both medically and socially relevant, and body size is a central – and controversial - theme in the world of fashion.

The research married MRI scanning with investigations into ‘home-made’ clothes; the dresses were created from vintage ‘home dressmaking’ dresses. It explored how garments are altered for different bodies and change via the process of being ‘handed down’: for example, how extra marks are made, pieces are added, stitching is undone, and zig-zag edges created from pinking shears get left behind. These markers of home dressmaking mirror the changes that occur to the body over time.

Fox was one of five textile artists invited by the Medical Research Council to interpret the work of a given Nobel scientist – in this case, Mansfield – with the aim of communicating biological discoveries to the general public. The resulting exhibition, ‘Nobel Textiles’ (London), was accompanied by a catalogue, website, and conference at the ICA with a ‘question and answer’ session that included the artists and scientists.

The collection was also exhibited in ‘Warp Factor 09’ at the Tokyo Design Museum, Japan (2009), and Art Museum of University Town, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, China (2009), and in ‘Mechanical Couture’, Design Museum, Holon, Israel (2010-11).

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 2008
Funders: Medical Research Council, Institute for Contemporary Arts
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
‘Warp Factor 09’ at the Tokyo Design Museum, Japan2009
Art Museum of University Town, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, China2009
‘Mechanical Couture’, Design Museum, Holon, Israel.20102011
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2014 14:00
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2014 14:00
Item ID: 6499
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/6499

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