This reader is a product of the PORTAL 006 classes that took place at Comenius Lyceum, a high school in Amsterdam Nieuw-West, in fall 2020. Elisa van Joolen initiated this new edition of PORTAL (2017-ongoing) for the exhibition ‘Refresh Amsterdam’ at Amsterdam Museum in collaboration with de Appel. This edition was made with group 2 students (12–14 years old) as part of ‘Kunstklassen’, an arts education programme organised by de Appel and Comenius Lyceum.
The publication shows a trail of connections between personal, economic, social, cultural and political values of the garments worn by Comenius Lyceum students.
PORTAL is a research project that explores the economic, social and emotional value of clothing and offers a ‘way in’ to understanding garments from a multitude of overlapping and intersecting perspectives.
For every edition, participants are asked to take off a garment, lay it down on a large Tyvek sheet, outline their garment with tape and answer a series of questions regarding its production (Where was it made?), materials (What is it made of?), ownership (Is it yours?) and value (How much did it cost? What is the emotional value?). Subsequently connections are made between the garments by literally drawing lines between the items of the various visitors, creating a network that reveals connections between and intersections of personal, economic, social, cultural and political realms surfacing a complex and layered system of the reality of clothing. This culminates in a map, or landscape of personal stories that connect to form a fashion network which inverts our gaze, shining a spotlight on the intricacies of our own outfits and extraordinary aspects of the everyday as opposed to the myth of the exclusive fashion image. PORTAL thus provides an entryway to a vision that begins to prioritise values that are ephemeral and yet integral in “influencing hearts and minds and shaping the way we live together”. It captures and visualises information that circumvents established hierarchies and disrupts the homogeneity of the commercially driven fashion system with the refreshing diversity of fashion that is worn; embodied and imperfect.
The collected information of each PORTAL edition is visualized and brought together in a reader using the sixteen PORTAL questions as their starting point.
Type: softcover Dimensions: 210 mm x 297 mm portrait Pages: 40 Art Direction: Elisa van Joolen Research assistant: Anouk Beckers Text: Ali, Dina, Fatima, Hafsa, Halime, Israe, Khaled, Mohammed, Rabia, Safae, Sara, Youssef, and Zülal Graphic design: Bart de Baets Release date: Spring 2021 Binding: staples Edition: 250 Color: full color – Offset printed Printer: Flyeralarm Language: English Text editing: Melanie Bomans Made possible by: Amsterdam Museum, de Appel Production: Warehouse Production assistant: Anouk Beckers