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Evidence Against Uniqueness: What Does it Really Mean?
This happens to me a lot.
Apparently I am indistinguishable from the legions of other shortish bespectacled brunettes rocking cardigan sweaters and canvas tote bags. And, apparently, I'm not alone in being unorginal: Dutch artists Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek have made a career of categorizing people's styles. They choose a setting (Italian cafes, for example, or Beijing campuses) and scope out the streets. Once the patterns emerge -- older ladies in furs, geeks in glasses -- they invite people to be photographed (in their own, original outfits) and eventually create these stunning arrangements of groups of shockingly similar strangers. What's so eerie is not necessarily the accidentally coordinated clothes but the similarities in these people's attitudes (helped along by their matching poses).
You have to see it to believe it: Slate's Browbeat blog has an amazing slide show of the photographs.
The results are as visually striking as they are thought-provoking. We say so much about ourselves, about the way we want ourselves to be, by how we present ourselves to the world. And when we think we're being unique -- check out the groups of identical goths in the slide show! -- we might just be joining up with another, more specific group.
Of course, I'm not the same person as the 9 other bookish ladies who had passed the Greenpeace girl that morning. But I'm not upset that they exist. The world can be a lonely place, and I'm choosing to see these Dutch artist's project not so much as an argument against uniqueness as it is a way to see the connections between us.
Read more on uniqueness:
How to develop a personal look
Celebrate your style like the poets do
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