I discovered video art through punk rock and riot Grrrl, and through artists and bands that were making videos in that scene. Video was the easiest way for me to make my own statement, to represent myself as a young angry woman, and to get the work out there. I had previously been making small zines and mailing them all over the states. I had a drive to tell my own story. Outfitumentary was a step beyond. Video was also a way for me to express my queer identity and articulate my thoughts of gender as performance. I was connecting the sexual politics with the experiential. And I was connecting an experimental process with queer politics. This is a Gesamtkunstwerk.
— K8 Hardy
For ten years, beginning in 2001, artist and filmmaker K8 Hardy documented her daily outfits on video according to a very simple set of self-imposed rules. Over an eleven-year period, until the camera broke, she captured these outfits—and outfitting—on a fairly consistent, if not daily basis, using the same “shitty” mini-DV camera, filming in an ever-changing series living spaces and art studios in New York. The result of this disciplined process is the fascinating Outfitumentary (2016), a thrilling evolutionary document of life and living, fashion and persona in 21st Century New York; an episodic first-person account of a young, lesbian feminist dressed and styled in her “coming of age;” and an examination of coded fashion statements and subcultural communication in the pre-instagram era.
“I named the project at the outset, and considered it a document for posterity, an important record of the dress codes of a radical lesbian underground. The film expresses a fundamental principle running through my work and practice—the ways in which the body becomes its own medium. [Outfitumentary is about identity, and the way in which both the materiality of the body and its subsequent “outfitting” serves to refine, define and probe the very nature of the body politic.” (K8 Hardy)