SESSIONS #1, #3, #4 - Critical Costume 2020: Online Exhibition

Lorraine Smith, Daphne Karstens

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


Videos from the project ‘SESSIONS #1, #3, #4’ were exhibited as part of Video Cabinet, Critical Costume 2020: Costume Agency. The videos showcased creations from the collaborative visual costume research project between costume designer Daphne Karstens and dance artist Lorraine Smith. During a 5-day intensive session, the artists experimented with various (non-fabric) everyday objects on the (moving) body to create innovative costume pieces.

Varieties of (recycled) materials were used to explore sculptural and narrative capacities and the effect on the moving body. In each experiment, the quality of the material was used to direct the design and performance process. The experiments demonstrated how ‘simple’ everyday objects, such as bottle caps, plastic cups and cardboard boxes can be used in an abstract way to create innovative costume pieces, repurposing the material from ‘practical’ to ‘sculptural’. The outcomes also strongly highlight the potential transformative nature of everyday manmade materials into visually stunning costumes resembling organic forms that connect to current environmental and sustainability issues.

Essential in the design process was discovering the ‘sculptural essence’ of each material through experimentation, manipulation and structural repetition, and the heightened responsiveness of the performer towards the costume by engaging in the making process.

The results of this project are an example of the potential creativity and innovation generated when the material is given agency in the design process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2020
EventCritical Costume 2020: Online Exhibition - Oslo National Academy of the Arts - Online
Duration: 21 Aug 202023 Aug 2020


ExhibitionCritical Costume 2020
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Due to COVID19 and related social distancing measures, CC2020 will be presented via an online presentation platform. The online exhibition, curated by artist Yuka Oyama, will present a series of projects in which the costume is the leading element of the performance, but are created based on different strategies, motivations, and interests behind them. The 35 artists from around the world featured in this exhibition work with a diverse range of media, performative formats and materials. Some of the topics of the exhibition include: material agency, identity agency, political agency, digital agency, emotional agency, and playful agency.

Critical Costume Exhibition 2020 will open on August 21, 2020


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