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Free Content Where is the body in the costume design process?

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Sally E. Dean has led the Somatic Movement, Costume & Performance Project in collaboration with costume designers/visual artists Sandra Arròniz Lacunza and Carolina Rieckhof since 2011. This project offers an alternative costume design methodology that starts from the body or ‘soma’ (i.e. a sentient, perceiving person), whereby perception is inherently active and relational. This approach is thus multi-sensorial, somatic and holistic, and is based upon Sally’s background as a somatic practitioner, performer, performance-maker and teacher. This visual essay gives examples from the project’s design approach, working with a live, moving and multi-sensorial body to create Somatic CostumesTM through co-creation, collaboration and participation. Costume designers are actively engaged in trying on materials and costumes through all stages of the process in order to answer the following overarching question: what are the materials/costumes doing to the body (i.e. body image and body schema)? Through these experiential methodologies, the project aims to return and relocate the body into the costume design process.
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Keywords: collaboration; costume design; live body; performance; sensorial; somatic

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Studies in Costume & Performance aims to encourage, generate and disseminate critical discourse on costume and the relationship between costume and performance. It considers costume as a symbiotic articulation of the body of the performer which is visual, material, temporal and performative. Whether performed live, seen through the camera lens or found in an archive, costume embodies and reflects the performance itself.

    The journal will bring together experts in costume, scenography, performance, fashion and curation as well as critically engaged practitioners and designers to reflect and debate costume in performance, its reception in production, exhibition and in academic critical discourse. Submission will include visual essays. The journal is double-blind peer-reviewed in order to maintain the highest standards of scholastic integrity.

    Past and current practice is considered through the ‘reading’ of the costumed body as a communication of embodied, cultural, social, artistic and historical narratives. As such this journal is an articulation of practice, which, through this process redefines practice itself.

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