Perpetuum mobile

42nd edition

Introduction

For centuries, there has existed, among many others, a utopia which has given philosophers and scientists cause to think: that is of the creation of a machine for Perpetual Motion. It has never been brought about in any operative way to create this movement but nowadays what we call “our time” but should rather be called our “flow”, has produced an “ersatz” very sophisticated, elaborated and certainly very efficient: that of the acceleration of time, the “non-stop” culture, the perpetual “connection” which fades into almost viral tones.

The Great Movement of the 19th century was the creation of the railways; in the 20th century it was supersonic flight; in the 21st century it is the immediacy of interactive telecommunications and cybernetics. Thus, the acceleration of actual reality, far from representing the End of History, embodies its becoming Perpetual Instant in perennial movement, omnipresent and omnipotent Present in ceaseless mutation, and challenges the idea of Time and he who lives it. A pressing cadence felt as drive and compulsion, a Continuous Flow which involves us in its self generated visions.

It is not our intention to draw any philosophical or scientific conclusion from this introduction, we would rather try to examine the consequences on our life style and, where possible, make some valuations about our industrial sector.

Far from being a novelty, the above confirms us some considerations already developed in the past seasons, that is to say those, which were once defined as “trends”, have increasingly short lives, and are, instead, a processing “continuum” and those which, really as a consequence of their nature, tend and will tend all the more to turn around their rotational axis and becoming ab assurdo, in a short (ever shorter) cycled orbit, ever more striking and slower at the same time.

We think this phenomenon, even at a merely unconscious level, is felt by the world of “fashion” consumption and, if we are to find evidence of the wish for “permanence”, we must look for it in the language of body signs.

Having abandoned the symbolism of clothing worn on the body, which by definition has become impermanent and in a certain sense too “external”, the wish for permanence is fulfilled by resorting to “interiorized” symbolism, which cannot be eradicated, or cancelled like tattooing, piercing or plastic surgery, which at times may become scientifically “deforming”, in order to incarnate “other” identities. These are probably the true New Clothes, because where fashion can, at the most, be a rotation of the possible, the “speaking” body and the language of the skin and limbs represent at the actual moment the only remaining possible Fixity to exorcise the breakdown of now very uncertain identities.