This website is documenting & analyzing my research in the field of contemporary visual arts. Kristofer Paetau
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picturepeople #45 : DRESSED DOGS

Six Things One Should Know About Dressed Dogs...

1. dog dress is a form of communication. It carries nonverbal messages to its audience composed of peers and other species that are inaccessible to their human companions.

2. dog dress represents dog values of identity with a particular peer or species group, and at the same time expresses a need to be different from other dogs and species (i.e. cats, parakeets, rats, etc.)

3. dog dress differences symbolize a need for autonomy. Dogs, not their owners, strive for independence.

4. dog dress as different from human dress is a relatively recent historical phenomenon. Previous to the 1950's the dress of dogs mimicked human fashions.

5. dog dress of the present appears to have a historical connection with the dog clothing of the late 1950's and early 1960's. Fashions styles manifest a cyclical nature. What is new and apparently original dress to one generation has its derivation in the past (though there were times when dogs were not dressed at all!).

6. dog dress of the present is influenced by the media. The recent development of animal food commercials demonstrates the powerful effect clothing of animal film stars has on dog audiences.

Remember that clothing is a language, a nonverbal system of communication that through its symbols conveys much about the wearer to the viewer. Before dogs bark at one another, their clothing makes a statement that expresses their sex, age, class, occupation, origin and personality, as well as what they are or what they want to be at a particular moment. Consult Donna Haraway's Companion Species Manifesto (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003) for further information.