Response to Urban Armor at Studio-Orta, an essay on designer Lucy Orta’s fashion:
Lucy Orta’s works of clothing-as-habitat by design raise the issue of homelessness, and it’s deeper impact on our lives. One aspect that I think is most significant is the homelessness as a lifestyle choice, as opposed to being an unfortunate circumstance. We tend to think of (or ignore) the majority of homeless people who suffer from mental illness or addiction; those of us in our air-conditioned condos and suburban communities can sympathize safely from a distance.
However, when we look at the smaller population of squatters, hippies, backpackers and whomever else who actively choose a lifestyle of homelessness. I often find myself confused or resentful of people who make this choice; perhaps because I am so entrenched in a capitalist society that values possessions, and land ownership.
Lucy Orta’s pieces force me to reimagine this nomadic counterculture not as one of anti-consumerism, per se, but of conservation, of independence and freedom of spirit.
Paul Virilio talks about a prophetic vision in Orta’s work, and I tend to agree — as population density increases and natural resources are wasted, as communities are fractured through mass production, I can imagine a world in which wearable housing is not just a necessity, but a choice individuals can make to reconnect to each other, to nature, to themselves.