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While the artwork Trappings begins with a question about clothing, the project
is not about fashion and to a large extent is not even about clothing. Trappings initiates a range of dialogues: simple descriptions of an outfit’s comfort and
practicality as a tool for power, complex analysis of an individual’s movement
through class and social strata, the use of sex as strategy in business and
social settings, and the use of clothing as a way to connect with cultural or
personal history as power sources. Trappings allows participants and viewers
to investigate their own relationship to power and assumptions based on
appearance and image.
Two Girls Working initiated Trappings in 2001 to explore individualized
approaches to power through interview-based community dialogue. The
interview sessions were based on a very traditional model, the Tupperware or Mary Kay house party. The artists identified hosts, who would invite groups of friends, family, and colleagues to participate in the interview sessions. One at a time, each woman stepped before the group into an area of the room that served as the stage. The lights turned on and the cameras rolled.