Dance band on the Titanic
Sing "[Nearer, to Gods, are We]"
The iceberg's on the starboard bow
Won't you dance with me? (Chapin, 1977)
Protection Against Daily Living - A PADL Project.
Hand Cut and Tailored flotation devices ensuring Couture Protection for the hubris of our times.
Lifers is a careful re purposing of old suits and vintage life jackets – a re framing of materials, traditions and techniques in response to imagined futures. Hand cut and hand tailored, the jackets emerge from the past in anticipation of many possibilities. Each jacket encourages the viewer to touch, to try on, and to imagine. These could be a memory of a life jacket once worn – a summer spent looking up at the sky, the taste of lake or sea water, sounds of a boat, reminders of a tragedy, or of conquering a fear?
Or perhaps these are trending business jackets? Lifers could tell the story of precarious employment plunging us into a sea of insecurity. Perhaps they predict an awesome sales opportunity for the fashion industry in times of crisis - be it climate change, pandemics or social justice. Maybe Lifers will become necessary wearing apparel preventing us from drowning in a sea of work, or a new approach to mental health first aid designed to ensure emotional buoyancy; a muse on the surprising buoyancy of male privilege?
Created during my Residency with the Salt Spring Arts Council (AIR), the original inspiration for Lifers was the Titanic life jacket. The hubris of the unsinkable Titanic ... the ship the ‘water would never go through’ … until it hit an iceberg. Not enough life jackets or life boats … And the band played on; ensuring passengers could drown in style and with class - much like our current corporate and political response to crisis. Business as usual … the band plays on and one must dress appropriately. Lifers offers a ‘fashionable’ option while we drown under the weight of human action … or inaction.
Chapin, H. 1977. Dance Band on the Titanic Lyrics. (n.d.). Lyrics.com. Retrieved March 28, 2020, from https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/1020538/Harry+Chapin.
Photographs by Nettie Seip and Noelle Hamlyn
Re-Tailored Suit Jackets
Found Life Jackets
Begun 2019 while Artist In Residence, Salt Spring Island Arts Council. The collection continues to grow.
Exhibited Salt Spring Island Artist Residency
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2019