Posted on October 12, 2007


Everything tells a story.  It is how we identify things.  We look at something and we know it by the ‘story’ it fits into.  In essence, a story is a context.  A kind of temporally qualified instance – a thing qualified by what goes before it and what comes after it.  However, not every ‘story’ is a story.  Some ‘stories’ are non-stories.  Some ‘stories’ actively contradict time, have no real – “and then and then” … The trainer for example.  The trainer is a without-a-context object: a without-a-context shoe -.  Global footware.  A footware that makes present an impossible object, an America-that-is-not-here, like a t-shirt with ‘Yale’ on it which the wearer has no connection with and never will have.  We don’t know what we are supposed to make of a Yale ‘scholar’ who perhaps – probably – doesn’t read.  Similarly with the trainer.  Ostensibly it is to be used for running.  But not for the typical wearer.  On the contrary it is to be used for not-running, that is, for ‘casual wear’, a criteria which tends to fit with all situations.   The designs are increasingly random and gimmicky.   Go faster stripes are replaced by nets or pig-like cloven heels, or, at the front, toes.   This faddism being symptomatic of the hanging question of what they really are – ?  Perhaps we can say that really they are toys.  Their toy-like nature goes with other toy designs, for example tonka-toy 4x4s; they admit one to a play world where instinct can rediscover itself.  They invite the sense that by wearing them one is ‘ready for anything’, for example; that in wearing them, one is ready to sprint off at the drop of a hat, flight/fight; go all-terrain.  Instinct is rediscovered as child-like.   Another aspect of this idea of a life-style life, might be to do with the way that it makes the concept of a holiday primary … Not of a HOLY-day but of the salutory fiction of one: the idea that only time-off is actually real, an inversion of childhood’s chronology, where the shoe-wearer moves back into a personal era in which time is never on.  Within this they are practical ‘kit’.  They are his/hers.  They are about foot comfort.  They are about health, fitness, well-being, along with the occasions of youth.  They are a form of uniform that wants not to be a uniform.  A form of mild rebellion against uniformity, a flavour of the individual that’s finished up shapeless, provisional, because they insist by what they are that everywhere is outdoors; yet they say ‘nothing natural’.  But, as with all fashions, the more the fad is sustained the more things lose proportion.  They begin to resemble the alien objects from nightmares, imbued with autonomous life blurring all into an inerasable ugliness.

Posted in: Postmodernism