Getting Dressed two-channel video installation,

from the project the tourist, 2002 video with audio 30:00 min projected on wall or screen, synchronized with video with audio 15:00 min,

presented in a domestic looking television

A projected video shows two Japanese women dressing a western woman (me) in a kimono. At the beginning the video renders a typical tourist experience captured by a hand held video camera. However, as the process of dressing becomes rather long and slightly awkward, there is a slow shift in the balance of who is looking and who is being looked upon. The role of the active subject inevitably shifts from the tourist to “the dressers”. The second video is presented in a domestic looking television next to this projected tourist footage and consist of a made-for-television program that presents step-by-step instructions for putting on a kimono. My Japanese friends watched this video that was originally recorded from Japanese television before they attempted to dress me, or on other occasions, dress each other. The two-part video installation addresses the common process of double essentialization. Double in the sense of essentializing women as having a natural instinct about how to make themselves beautiful and secondly, the essentialist exoticization of the “local” by the tourist.


below: video stills from the two videos

Åsa Elzén