Costume Agency

This project researches the agency of costume in performance and how costume can generate or be a centre of gravitation in a performance.

Aoife Monks, the author of “The Actor in Costume” states that costume is that what is indistinct from the body, yet something that can be removed. We believe that costume is, as all elements in the entity of a performance, mutually influenced by the other elements. We take Monks theory one step further and claim that costume is an interaction between the four components: garment, body, action and context, and that these four components form one dynamic whole. We want to research this unity from the starting point of the garment.

Over the duration of this project a series of performances will be developed where costume will serve as a starting point and core element. To ensure the fulfilment of the vision that is imbedded in the garment, this research requires the costume designer to take the creative lead in the project, responsible for the artistic vision from initial idea to final presentation. 

Our research goal is to explore the full performative potential of garments holistically within the complex system of body-garment-action-context. The approach will be partly phenomenological and partly socio-political.
The research is primarily approached in workshops lead by costume designers, which pursue the vision embedded in the garment. The workshop format follows a set dogma that involves six designers and four performers for eight days of rehearsals, over a period of twelve days of explorations, dialogue and development. There will be ten workshops in total. 

Ongoing research is mostly academic and artefact-based, with less artistic practice based methods. We want to utilize the momentum in academic research to propose a complimentary project based on artistic research. The project maintains a dialogue with a reference group of academics. They will act as respondents, studying our findings and questioning the artists in their methods of working, thinking and creating.

 The final presentation, a festival in 2020, will be a platform where a larger group of artists and academia meet. 

The potential of the project to break new ground lies in a unique possibility for the costume designer to control the resources of the performance and the possibility for a common platform for academic and artistic reflection.
The project will run from 2018 until 2021. 

Project leader: Christina Lindgren, Professor in Costume Design, Design department, Oslo Academy of the Arts

Involved partners are:
Sodja Lotker, Course Leader of Master in Directing and Object Theatre, Prague Performing Arts Academy (DAMU) with students
Sofia Pantouvaki, Professor in Costume Design, Aalto University, Finland with students
Sidsel Bech, Programme Leader Theatre Design at Edge Hill University, United Kingdom with students
Theodor Barth, socialantroplogist and Professor at the Design department, Oslo National Academy of the Arts
Mikkel B.Tin, Professor in Philosophy, University College of Southeast Norway, Campus Bø
Knut Ove Arntzen, Professor in Theater reseach, University of Bergen with students
Alumni students: Costume designer Mathilda Karlström and Fredrik Floen
Students of specialization in fashion design and costume design at the Design department, Oslo National Academy of the Arts.
Workshop holders: distinguished costume designers/scenographers and international designers.

More information about the project