As a semi-culminating event of my Wassaic Project Residency, I hosted a PowerWoman Breakfast. A team of Powerful Women cooked pancakes for the Business Meeting while blasting a montage of business-related music. All in attendance wore a PowerSuit or a piece of the Wassaic Suit Collection, a limited edition series of wearable Business Blazers that combined nostalgia, business, and power into one costume.
All the suits and many of the materials were sourced from 8 Firehouse Road, a house which over the period of my Wassaic stay was going through a period of upheaval and starting over — cleaning out all the materials from it’s diseased resident, who happened to be a very classy small stature man who wore a great suit.
As I was gathering all these suits I realized that they were a bit of a love-letter to Wassaic. They held so many memories of this man I do not know and of the town he lived in. I also have been carrying around many items and pieces of my past filled with memories. I used the excuse that these were “art supplies” as a reason to keep them around. But like the family of 8 Firehouse Road, it was time to throw some shit out.
I combined the found items and my own collections into a series of wearable PowerSuits, imbued with power and nostalgia.
At the PowerWoman Breakfast Business Meeting we discussed power in relation to what we are wearing and how we take on different personae, and the world relates to us differently based on what we are wearing. We touched on topics of class and perceived wealth, and how that relates to how you are received or related to by the world. We talked about wearing make up and “grown up” clothing and how different employers have required different levels of “professionalism” at work. We talked about the differences in what is “business appropriate” for women versus men, and about the difference between wearing a suit and being one of the crowd – wearing what you think you should be wearing – versus wearing a suit and owning that power, and being your own person inside this “costume”. We talked about how we feel more comfortable in different costumes depending on our context, environment, and location.
Everyone spoke and the discussion was so real and vivid, with each person contributing a story or thought from their past. We had the Wassaic Project residents, staff, and local people from Amenia there, and it was lovely.
I’m so excited for where this project is going next! I envision multiple performances in multiple locations. One PowerWoman Breakfast in a diner with everyone wearing the same color suits. Another performance in a corporate Manhattan office with many ladies in suits busying around sewing and sorting and doing very important business related tasks. Another performance in a local hand-made tailor shop
Maybe all the performances feature a Corporate Breakfast? Maybe the commonality is just the suits, and the activity of the Meeting changes. Maybe each performance features a different set of suits, made specifically for and with materials sourced from that location.
As a Wassaic conclusion, I was really pleased with how the event turned out. It incorporated so much of what I had done there over my two months, and so much of the materials that I had brought and also found while there. I’m excited to be launching into the next phase of the PowerSuit project! in the city, in far away places, in your house, in mine, left & right, up & down!