Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Collaborations Opening Up

Some days ago I got contacted by a colleague and friend of mine, Filipe Canha, who was directing a show and was in need of a second performer. I had already accidentaly read an article on the project in question the previous day, the concept of which involved our senses besides seeing, so although a coincidence it turned out a great opportunity of collaboration for me both as a performer and concept creator researching on ways of (non)seeing.

Useless/Useful participatory fashion performance and exhibition is an ongoing project that involves both graduates and current students from UAL as well as other professionals. Episode one, which was presented yesterday at the Rag Factory in Brick Lane, was, as the name suggests, very much about fashion and audiences' participation. The costumes, created by Christina Tso, looked at the touch and hear aspect of fashion, rather than solely rely on the visual effect. The costume I performed in had sound sensors attached to it and therefore sounds were generated according to body movement. Even though the rigid parts of the costume along with its cables and little gadgets did restrict the fluidity of movement, it allowed me to perform a consistent and yet simple choreography that exhibited the garment and at the same time brought it to life. Dancer Marta Masiero wore an unsusual black tutu that unveiled thousands of tiny blue lights that somehow resembled colourful sea corals that moving under water.

Along with the performance director, sound technician, set designer, make up artist, graphic designer, film maker, cameramen, photographers,  and many more who were there for help and support it was possible to put up a great piece of work in a matter of weeks. I was not there from the very beginning, but working all day with the same people on the same thing makes you familiar with it all in no time. 

The end part of the performance was about audience. It aimed at showing spectators the costumes, letting them interact with the garments' qualities and possibilities. As we had two performances one after the other it was good to see how they changed according to the number of audeince. The sencond one proved to be the best and we even got a spectator who got so interested in exploring the costumes that by the end of the show she was believed to be one of the performers. Indeed she was, as  we all merged together to bring the piece to an end. The whole project was documented step by step, so I will update with links to material from the actual show.

I really enjoyed working on the project and got to meet lots of great people. I am looking forward to future collaborations and whatever future results may bring, I must say that this time the timing was perfect, given the performance I am presenting next Tuesday explores clothing and fashion in a way very close to the themes of senses and audience participation that Useless/Useful is working on. 

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