ANDROGYNY THE REPEATING LINe_
The middle, it’s always been a place of comfort within the world of fashion, of defining styles and within art more generally. The middle is the point when the world realizes something is worth investing in, looking in to and accepting. How was the middle formed though, what creates the middle and more importantly how does it change? From the Greeks to the Indian civilization, the Chinese and South America, each period and place in history defined the middle and the middle was rigorously maintained for, in some cases, a millennia. Notions of gender and sexuality have at times been just as rigorously maintained and well defined, however androgynous art and fashion is not just limited to the 20th century, the concept has always been a part of the conscious, self-thinking human, albeit at the edges, in the shadows, implicit and indirect, masked by tradition and dogma.
Is fashion a product of the middle, an afterthought of economics, of religion (or lack of), of a small subset of influencers motivated by fame and fortune to possess more of the vast and established middle? Or is fashion and style always in motion a movement of the edge flowing into the middle, whilst the middle is pushed out left to rot and fall into an abyss of nothingness. Is the middle fluid in movement, like the hot air rising, replaced with cooler rushing air to replace and freshen the funk left by too little movement? One thing is true though, the arts have always been a constant and continuous play between gender, sexuality and the associated forms. To look at the history of the middle in terms of gender and sexuality is to realize the world of fashion was never constant and should never remain so.
In the beginning was the word and the word was the middle, but change occurs through interpretation and interpretation comes from the edge and replaces the middle. It’s an inevitable consequence of life, of continually recognizing the "new" and reinterpreting the middle. It’s what must be done in order to facilitate the human experience, which inevitably forces the middle to change. Most early civilizations, had a style unique to themselves, a blurring of sexuality and sexual practice, there was the female there was the male, each separate and unique but blurred by looking past fixed definitions of male and female. This translated into a hybrid of not only passion between male and female form, but also defined style and form. The middle was truly androgynous, nothing but the focus of the creative mind.
The inevitability of change means that the middle is always replaced. What causes this? Is it a sort of boredom that facilitates the process of change, even when there seems to be apparent harmony between form, style, fashion and associated ideas related to gender and sexuality? The middle within the medieval ages, for example, replaced style with an anti-style or no style. There was no room for anything material. Gender and sexuality refused to be acknowledged stricken from the mind, hidden away. All became lost, an abyss of darkness enveloping the closed mind. However, even as the middle was dark the edge remained alert with possibilities, gender and sexuality was very much alive, observing the middle, waiting for a moment, any moment. The creative mind demands to be recognized.
An alluring sound, the belly dancers, the turban, the bewildered priest forced together, redefining a new form, an amalgamation of many edges coming together to praise the human spirit. Technology and discovery of exotic lands allowed new ideas in arts and fashion to replace the dead middle, it’s only thru the arts that new ideas can stick! The impact, in the 14th century, for example forced changes that would impact fashion and style. The Arab face to face with the female dancing form of the Margi, the naked Animism of central Africa introduced to European Spain, everything was the edge, the male and female form was unhinged and left bare in all its vastness. An anarchism of cultures unhinging gender and allowing an underbelly of fashion and art to flourish, a melting pot of style manifested in the blurring of gender and sexuality that couldn’t be controlled, The singer both the seducer and the seduced, a new middle - intoxicated by words, the poet, the mystic, the bustling city, the middle confused, looking out, weighing up the tide of edginess, trying to understand it, being reformed and reevaluated, pushed aside. This would allow the onset of the modern world, a world pushed to the edge, defined by science and made accessible by the arts.
In an infinite number of universes, there is no middle, there is no truth, and there is no form. It’s a product of the human experience. This was the edge, festering, thinking, the scientific method. Along with it came the destruction of the God's, replaced by the mechanical form, the new edge, the new middle, the all prevailing. The west was here to stay. Fashion and style moved much more quickly, a whirlwind of many minds, God's unto themselves. The middle was being replaced, with the cold iron thud of "progress". The creative mind always finds ways to flourish and so it did, in the background at first and then complementing and then defining the outer, the machine abstracted away into the background. An emergence of the individual in all its glory and hateful love. There was no definition of form and style, from the abstract to the absolute and everything in-between, it was all possible, in an infinite number of universes all forms, all styles all ideas are possible. The blurring of ideas from the male form to the female form, masculinity, femininity, the conscious mind, all the possibilities, endless. Fashion, style and Art in general is moving much faster, the slow turning of the tides, becoming an Al-Niño, what does this all mean, where will it end up? Nobody really knows, but that's the beauty of the journey, the curious and infinite mind.