Inhabiting the Ragpicker

  • Cristina Ricci

Creative project part of the Fashion as a Dialectical Image module (2016) in the BA History of Art at Goldsmiths, University of London.
The aim of this research file is to present a constellation of photographs considered important, with a value, like the figure of the ragpicker was doing through the accumulation of refuse. The German philosopher Walter Benjamin makes references to this character in his unfinished work The Arcades Project, focused on the city of Paris in the nineteenth century:
“Here we have a man whose job it is to pick up the day’s rubbish in the capital. He collects and catalogues everything that the great city has cast off, everything it has lost, and discarded, and broken. He makes a selection, an intelligent choice; like a miser hoarding treasure, he collects the garbage that will become objects of utility or pleasure when refurbished by Industrial magic.”[1]
Drawing from this notion, I will embody a contemporary ragpicker with the intention of displaying dialectical tensions between garments, gender ambiguities, and hybridizations of the human body.

[1] Walter Benjamin, “Convolute J: Baudelaire,” in The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin [J68,4] (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2002), 349.

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