Costume matter. Exploring microorganisms, fungi and berries as biobased material in contemporary costume design.

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesisTheses

Abstract

Costume materiality has emerged as a current focus in costume theory and practice, as is the significance of costume material and costume as material with agency. Biobased material development is a rapidly evolving research landscape in a variety of fields, as well as a timely topic given the current global considerations of the impact of human activity on the environment. Material knowledge is a fundamental part of a costume designer´s practice, yet how biobased materials can be explored and understood as medium for subjective creative expression through contemporary costume design is currently understudied. This thesis is a personal exploration and reflection on working with selected species of fungi, algae, berries and microbes as medium in costume design. This thesis aims to present biobased materials as viable material alternatives in contemporary costume design, and to explore how selected such materials may be assimilated into the complex processes of costume design and collaborative performance making. This thesis consists of an artistic exploration with biobased materials in the context of costume design, through three specific contemporary dance productions, and a written study reflecting on this practice. The artistic component is located within my own work as costume designer on the dance production a life - nomadic melodrama (2017), which, together with the productions Posthuman (2016) and Posthuman days (2018) inform the thesis. These three contemporary dance works are connected through using specific new materialist philosophy as theoretical starting points for the collective performance making process, and through my approach as costume designer exploring a biobased costume materiality as a conceptual response to this theory. I apply a multi-method research approach to this practice-based thesis In this written reflection and analysis of the works I attempt to trace a narrative of my personal artistic process of engaging with biobased materials in relation to costume design, and how this material approach has affected my understanding of costume materiality in the context of live contemporary dance performance. My costume material approach is a continuous enquiry that develops from one production to the next one, and in this written thesis I trace, analyse and reflect on this process. This thesis suggests that biobased materials can not only be viable as material alternatives in costume practices, but also have the potential to generate interesting aesthetic and performative qualities to the materiality of a live performance when embedded into the shared process of performance making.
Original languageEnglish
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Pantouvaki, Sofia, Supervising Professor
  • Kääriäinen, Pirjo, Thesis Advisor
  • Relander, Taina, Thesis Advisor
Place of PublicationEspoo
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2019
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis

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