This semi-narrative film aims to demonstrate that a paradox exists between function, intention and outcome in relation to meanings that are embodied in ecclesiastical clothing. Using highly edited audio recordings of multiple interviews with a Roman Catholic priest, the work investigates the transformative qualities of cloth in relation to a priest’s transition to ‘Other’.

 

Clerical vestments exemplify holiness and signify a priest’s dedication to God. They also symbolize a barrier between the sacred and the profane and function to protect him against his own desire and the desire of others.

 

The subject’s candid reflections, as both a maker and wearer of vestments challenge the Church’s attempts to de-gender and de-sexualize the ‘Sacred’ body. It transpires that the very drapery of the ‘Dress of Innocence’ intended to disguise and conceal through a plethora of layers, paradoxically evokes a suggestion of an eroticized, idealized physical form that lies beneath.

 

 

 

This return to the corporeal over the spiritual body also highlights how multiple, complex and conflicting meanings such as desirability versus unavailability and chastity versus the libidinous are embedded in such clothing, which leads to a ‘carnivalization’ of the body.

 

Further observations on ceremony, colour, texture, embellishments and hierarchical signifiers explore the erotic and the sensual and examine certain taboos that exist within the context of Roman Catholic ritual.

 

 

       A Man Of The Cloth (2015)

       Duration 12 mins. 2 secs.       

                              

A Man Of The Cloth (2015)

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