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Costume in Action

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Research Symposium 2: Costume and absence: a space for curation

Tues 10 Sept 09.30 - 11.00
Rowe Beddoe Studio

Research Symposium 2:  Costume and absence: a space for curation

The papers presented considered costume as separated from the body of the actor, as the place from where to view and create performance and as the subject for an exchange of ideas through specialised on-line resources.

 1. Keith Lodwick: The body on display: putting the actor back into the clothes and the challenges of display for theatre and film costume

Recent V&A Exhibitions – Theatre & Performance galleries, David Bowie, Hollywood Costume – have explored new ways to examine how costumes worn by performers can be displayed in engaging and innovative way. This presentation explored how the V&A is researching new mounting and staging techniques to push the boundaries for exhibition display.

2. Anastasia Miari: Making a magazine to address the absence of discourse.

Noting the absence of informed insight into the world of costume and the designers that inhabit it, Anastasia Miari set about using her skills as journalist and her understanding of performance to launch GUISE costume design magazine in 2012. It now has 400 hits a day, and a growing Facebook presence. Providing readers with ‘behind the seams’ interviews and profiles, it highlights the importance of costume design in all aspects of the entertainment industry. Beyond making the costume designer explicitly present in culture, its long-term aim is to address the exploitation that can be a by-product of the invisibility of costume.

3. Donatella Barbieri: Costume, absent bodies, curation and performance

Paradoxically the complexity of costume and its layered meanings can be unravelled more readily when it is encountered as an archived and collected object. Drawing from her on-going research at the Victoria and Albert Museum and her work as a costume-based performance maker and academic, Donatella Barbieri explores ideas around costume, absent bodies, curation and performance. Examples are drawn from the work of exhibition-maker Judith Clark, visual artist Lucy Orta, choreographer Lea Anderson and the experimental theatre of The Wooster Group. Making connections between these, she creates a costume cosmography that contextualises her creative practice.

Chair: Kate Dorney


Image: David Bowie’s costume, 1973, by Kansai Yamamoto. Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita, thanks to the Bowie archive and the V&A


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