Clothes amplify a body in motion. Yesterday as I walked the streets of San Francisco's Mission district, my pink skirt billowed and whipped in an unseasonably strong wind. The fringe on my jacket jumped and swayed with my stride. My handbag, which I held by its straps beside me, swung to and fro as I moved quickly up Valencia Street. My outfit, animated by my movement and by the conditions of my environment, was acting as a corporeal extension. 

This particular choice of skirt and jacket (both susceptible to energetic activation by the force of the wind) on this particular day significantly altered my experience of my body in space. With the skirt flowing around me, I became more acutely aware of the lyricism of my movements. And as I walked along the street, into and out of shops, up stairs, and along train platforms, I was aware of a rhythm and grace to my own motion, as if my body and my clothes were performing a swirling, improvised duet in front of me. 

Much like my interest in clothes, I am drawn to spaces for their potential to transform one's bodily awareness. In the case of my clothes yesterday, my skirt made me feel as though I was moving in communion with the wind. The wind's force, my skirt's billowing, and my light step created a cluster of articulations that, taken with the movements of the city around me, accumulated into a greater cloud of motion and noise. Though they were perceptible to me and perhaps those around me, on a grander scale my movements were lost to the general chaos of the outside world. 

Designed spaces, however, refine our attention. They direct or limit the potential for those aforementioned accumulations of motion. Perhaps a space makes us feel small, enveloped in vastness. Or perhaps it purposefully pins us shoulder to shoulder in narrow passageways thronged with other people. Or perhaps we are confined to a space whose walls are just wide enough to allow the passage of our bodies, raising goosebumps as we brush past drywall or stone. In each case, the spaces we find ourselves in offer a tertiary level of corporeal experience. 

Perhaps this is why some spaces, like some outfits or items of clothing, have the potential to excite a sort of bodily ecstasy. Spaces and clothes both broaden the scope of our embodied sensations, creating situations of heightened spatial, bodily, and visual harmonies that I find both exciting and deeply satisfying. 

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Yesterday was my third visit to 500 Capp Street, the home and life's work of the late artist David Ireland. Like his work at the Headlands Center (read about my time there), Ireland's attention to his home chronicled and beautified the house's state of flux as it aged. 500 Capp Street has always been a deeply moving space for me. Capp Street is particularly unique due to the way it has been wrought: Ireland spent nearly 30 years meticulously crafting the home’s interior as a living installation, and the fruits of his labor and the tenor of his presence remain in the house years after his death. The ochre walls, narrow Victorian staircase, and piles of Ireland’s concrete dumb-balls and found-object assemblages take ownership of the house in lieu of their creator’s presence.

On every visit to the house, I've wanted to move about the space and document my presence in it. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to do just that. 

If you're in San Francisco, don't miss 500 Capp Street. You can arrange your visit here

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