The shirt off your back, Jack, James and Bobby

Harper, Catherine (2015) The shirt off your back, Jack, James and Bobby. In: The erotic cloth: Seduction and fetishism, 20 March 2015, The Art Workers' Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

There is a moment in the film Brokeback Mountain (2005, dir. Ang Lee) when the cowboy Ennis seeks out the smell, the scent, the presence – in sorrow – of his lover Jack, who was beaten to death by homophobe rednecks earlier in the film. Ennis finds a worn denim work shirt, stained with Jack’s blood on the cuff, hanging in the wardrobe at Jack’s parent’s home. The parents, waiting downstairs, silently acknowledge their son’s illicit love and the grief of his lover. The love caught here in the fabric of a denim shirt is indescribable in its poignancy, its sense of loss, its use of a simple shirt as a device for human suffering of immeasurable scale.

Death and desire couple on cloth, creating a lexicon of erotic intimacy and masculine mourning. This paper explores this lexicon through three cloths: Jack’s shirt, the shirt in which Irish Easter Rising patriot, James Connolly, was shot, and the homo-erotic symbolism of the non-shirt shit-impregnated blankets of Northern Irish Hunger Striker, Bobby Sands.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ12 Sexual life > HQ19 Sexual behaviour and attitudes. Sexuality
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ12 Sexual life > HQ75 Homosexuality. Lesbianism
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts. Applied arts. Decoration and ornament > NK8800 Textiles
Event Title: The erotic cloth: Seduction and fetishism
Event Location: The Art Workers' Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT
Event Dates: 20 March 2015
Depositing User: Debbie Bogard
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2017 14:16
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2017 14:16
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/2615

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