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(March 15–21, 2006)

Pat Swovelin †

Borders Are All Around You

Ken Stuart

Personal Borders

California State University, Northridge, California, USA

Noon, PDT (-8 GMT), March 21, 2006

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© 2006 Ken Stuart, All Rights Reserved.

Clothes can be considered a border between self and other, a kind of extension of ourselves that forms the outer edge of our physical presence. As borders, clothes can be wide open, airtight, or almost any point between these extremes. They can also be changed quickly, unlike politically negotiated boundaries. Some people spend a great deal of effort crossing these borders or at least wishing they could.

Clothing serves to protect, to insulate, to shield. So do walls and lines that mark borders between countries. Some wearables such as Kevlar vests or biohazard suits serve as impenetrable defenses, while others, such as lingerie can fall away with only a light touch. For comparison, think of the Great Wall of China and the Maginot Line, respectively.

Borders and physical constructs marking them change through time, as whim, need, mores, and wear and tear affect them. Likewise, they consist of different materials, and may not be agreed upon by all people, are subject to change, and can be rooted in the real world or simply drawn on paper. Certainly clothes work the same way, whether covering a real-world person, or a game character, or coloring-book figure.

This panorama – a composite shot of passers-by with their exposed skin digitally removed – serves to illustrate clothes as borders, placing the emphasis on what people wear rather than what they leave visible (or not).

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Nikon D70 / 10.5 mm on a Precision360 panorama head, then Photoshop CS, PTMac, and CubicConverter.

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