Welcome to the Costume Agency / Critical Costume 2020 Conference!
“The veil is music because it is the artifice through which a body extends itself to engender forms into which it disappears.”
In his essay the Dance of Light (2011) about Loie Fuller’s innovative dance practice, and poet Stéphane Mallarmé’s infatuation with it, Jacques Rancière gives special focus to the role of dress in a redefinition of avant-garde art. Following Mallarmé, Rancière calls the dress a veil, in order to uncover its potential and says that “(t)he veil is not only an artifice that enables one to imitate all sorts of forms. It also displays the potential of a body by hiding it. It is the supplement that the body gives itself to change its form and its function.” Here the dress of the dancer enables her to disappear, it enables the body to be dislocated and to change. This is why the ‘veil’ is the ‘music’. It is an agent that provides new realities of the body to emerge; it performs.
A garment in contemporary performance goes even beyond an agent activating abstract abilities of presence of the body on stage. Costume interacts with the other performance elements in extremely complex ways. It is a carrier of stories, executor of political activism, it becomes an embodiment of conceptual thinking, a critical questioning. Costume does not only perform via the body, it extends to space, landscape, and audience. It is an actor in itself. Costume is communication and communicated, it is a tool for research, it dances phenomenologically, it affects us kinesthetically. It is an agent. It is a force field. Costume performs. It does things. And the costume designer becomes director, thinker, researcher and shaman – constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing realities, different ways of being, into the ‘unthinkable’.
Critical Costume 2020 focuses on the agency of costume in performance, costume as the main performer and the costume designer as the initiator of performance. Following Costume Agency, a three-year artistic research project by Christina Lindgren (Oslo National Academy of the Arts) and Sodja Lotker (Academy of Performing Arts in Prague), Critical Costume 2020 explores different ways in which costume performs, different genres and formats it initiates, but also specific dramaturgical strategies that are ingrained in costume, and are probably yet to be used to their full potential.
Due to the situation with Covid-19, Critical Costume 2020 will be online and will take the shape of:
- An online Video Library of paper presentations and flash talks launched August 8th
- 40 Working Groups – online discussions August 21st – 23rd
- 3 online Panel Discussions in autumn 2020 (dates to be announced)
- Critical Costume 2020 Exhibition will be online from August 21st
- The Costume Agency Workshops are postponed until August 2021
The conference is open to the public and there is no conference fee.
We wish you all a warm welcome!
Christina Lindgren, Sodja Lotker, Yuka Oyama, Sofia Pantouvaki, Camilla Svingen, Bastian Danielsen