BAD PRESS: DISSIDENT IRONING

Installation

San Francisco, CA

1993

Bad Press is an exercise in dissident housework made with 25 generic men’s white shirts, an iron, and spray starch. The project scrutinizes ironing as one among other household tasks that are still governed by motion-economy principles designed by efficiency engineers at the turn of the century. The standardized ironing pattern was devised so that a minimum of energy would be expended in pressing a shirt into a flat, rectangular shape that would fit economically into orthogonal systems of storage: the shipping carton, the display case, the dresser drawer, the closet shelf, and the suitcase. The residual trace of the orthogonal logic of efficiency is worn on the body. The parallel creases and crisp, square corners of a clean, pressed shirt are a sought after emblem of refinement. But what if the task of ironing could free itself from the aesthetics of efficiency altogether? Perhaps the effects of ironing could more aptly represent the postindustrial body by trading the image of the functional for that of the dysfunctional.

view ironing instructions video

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