Hair-tree copy.jpg

Detail from Wild Corporation: Executive Lounge

Archival pigment print, 2018

IKL: One group of women in this series is obessed with hair (in the previous image, the women are literally tied together with braided hair). The other group of women is obsessed with shoes, especially high heels.

How did you develop the personalities and fetishes of these two tribes or teams, from the clothes each wears, to their obsessions and weaknesses?

Tell us about that process, including how you developed the uniforms or costumes of these two teams. 

Mimi Kato on development of content.

Content and ClothingMimi Kato
00:00 / 01:58

The shoes and hair are stereo-types of women’s obsession with beauty. Beauty and power are often thought of as signifiers of success for women just like wealth and power are for men. I feel like women cannot escape the inevitability of being judged by how they present themselves with no regard to their abilities. There was a conversation about how Hillary Clinton was judged by the outfits she wore during her presidential campaign. A woman first needs to be liked in order to succeed while a man can be a total asshole but can still succeed if he is capable. In this work, my characters are obsessed with these beauty symbols and harvest them from each other to gain power over others. 

I talked about the uniforms in the previous conversation, but these Japanese office uniforms are often chosen by CEOs who are usually men. These types of uniforms are given to non-career female worker who assist daily operations. They serve in powerless positions in the companies. These uniforms are disappearing because of the sexist connotations attached to the uniforms. But I wanted to use the uniforms as a symbol of inferiority.  I picked the most basic style that used to be found in Japanese companies and I sewed them for the characters.