In the presentation “The Enemy has Many Faces:” Insects, Invasion & Inventive Clothing in War and Peace Katrina Jungnickel and Katja May shared their ongoing research on garments for protection against insects. In historical clothing patents and additional archive material, Jungnickel and May discovered rhetoric that presented insects as an invading force and a threat to colonial infrastructure. Three analytical sections were discovered 1) at war with insects, 2) at work with insects and 3) at leisure with insects. In this eye-opening presentation, Jungnickel and May argue for the socio-political intersection of invasion, colonialism, and citizenship via clothing inventions. Through their alternative methods, such as constructing patented garments (and bringing them to the presentation), both the researchers and the audience came to new insights regarding the clothes’ function, the protection of bodies, and the mastering of nature all in relation to colonial legacy, and violent control of indigenous people and traditional knowledge.
The following discussion included the rhetoric used to describe insects in the patents, the change from patenting garments to patenting fabrics in the 1940s, Jungnickel and May’s research process, and expanding ideas of citizenship through patents.
Katrina Jungnickel & Katja May are based at Goldsmiths, University of London. The presentation is part of their work with the project Politics of Patents, (POP). More on POP here: PoliticsOfPatents.org
Video by LiU communications officer Per Wistbo Nibell. Text by Isabelle Strömstedt, Johanna Dahlin chaired the event.