Design And Performance Lab




Conceptual Apparatus

Jane M. Gaines " On Wearing the Film",
in Bruzzi, Stella and Pamela Church Gibson, eds., Fashion Cultures. London: Routledge, 2000.
Hal Foster, Prosthetic Gods, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. Marquard Smith & Joanne Morra, eds., The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006.

Thomas Oberender, "More Presence on Stage" (Theater Heute 2004)

Diedrich Diederichsen, "The Idiot with the Video Camera" (Theater Heute 2004)

Silvia Stammen, "When Images lernt to how act" (Theater Heute 2007)

Mark Hansen, "Embodiment: The Machinic and the Human," (aRt&R: Artistic Research and Development, 2005)

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, London: Routledge, 1962.

notes from rehearsals for - telematic dress -

February 14
Some thoughts on ideas of design/fabric, cubist collage/unfolding (of fabric) in relation to a performance concept we will need to develop further that allows the performer (in/with the design) to move and to act:

What we were not able to do last time was to explore the designers' storyboards (Gemma Harrison, Jo Cope) more fully and see how (in the work with physical camera) the action/movement, or characterization that becomes the dress and the character, develops, and how that generates material that can be shaped dramaturgically or choreographically. It can also be a series (animations), changing viewpoints on the person, perhapsin the spirit of a darker portraiture (Yoon Bo's work), or darker video verité passage. Jo, have a look at Essay 1 (online), there's an interesting section on "lived cubism" in video-theatre.

The question with more than one performer with a design then is: how to be inter-link the performers, the or their designs, and what they do? The linking of course is the challenge we try to examine in our telematic rehearsals on the “telematic dress.”

I want to draw attention to a project I am working on with a dancer who has explored what is called "experiential anatomy" and Skinner release technique. Her movement perceptions are motivated by working with images inside the body, which generally is meant to allow the dancer to open up (internal space_, release, and find more movement and relations to outer movement-space.

So there is a phenomenal emphasis (as with Merleau-Ponty and his philosophical emphasis on this doubledness of embodiment, inside-outside, and his writings on visible/invisible bodies) on the inside and the edge, or that porous quality of inside perception and proprioception (all senses being involved when we moved), and how the quick and fully alert body at the same time perceives, senses, and processes the outside world, being in the world.

I think our own research-angle now could be, not only the psychic dimensions as they concern Gemma's dress, but also the notion of "unfolding" (in Jo's work) that leads to a spatial dis-order, dissociation, dis-crepancy. I see this also reflected in our use of 3 spaces: inner, outer, and videospace (telematic space), namely the image-space or 3D Virtual Space created through the networking of our video and audio stream.

My question to you all (and please, Saeko, you can help us here, describe your dance with the veil):

fabric design, spatial design, movement design are space-works, and in our case inclusive of video projection and projective space (a kind of "third space" maybe, inter-mediary between inside and outside). This inter-mediary [[projection] could be a fascinating angle, if we treat videospace as its own digital space yet extending from fabric and being/worn fabric -- that is construed by our inside perception and proprioception in certain ways, but not in equivalence to real 3d physical space.

Video after all, is light. With transparent design, the light flows through/across. Why? What happens to the senses that touch or feel or are restricted by the dress? can the projected space shift a perception of dress/design? by wearer, by perceiver/onlooker? how does the onlooker reader psychic dress, the inside ofn dress, the dressness or wearness?

Video is image space, and thus cannot quite behave as the physics of 3d space (environment, world), but how then does such space congrue with or converge with our other bodied perceptional rhythms? and how does such rhythm create a particular character (performed), how would you perform such character?

Readings: Jane M. Gaines " On Wearing the Film",
in Bruzzi, Stella and Pamela Church Gibson, eds., Fashion Cultures. London: Routledge, 2000.
Hal Foster, Prosthetic Gods, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004.
Video Essays 1 +2 online:

Scheduled Rehearsals:
Thursday, March 10 5:30 - 9pm (Gemma's dress), Victoria Studios Basement
Thursday March 17(Jo's dress), 5:30 - 9pm (Powerhouse) / LINK WITH ASU, Brasil, Australia and Japan/between 22:oo and 2:oo am
Johannes `Birringer


Jo Cope Notes for Thursday workshop:

Thurs 17th workshop
This time the main focus will be on the inner to layers of the dress. The process of opening and transformation; firstly I will explain/recap on the meanings in brief of the two garment layers.

The white simple cut outer part of the dress form (middle part of the transformation process);
This is symbolic of the outward self, the outward projection, the way we choose to clothe our bodies assisting in the creation of the self-manufactured persona. Whilst this can be a means of expression it is rarely deep an often serves as a mask.

The internal more complex opening folds, which create the transforming part of the dress;
An expression of the inner person, the portrayal of the truest part of the self,
The soul, the inner thought the inner belief. This can be the most intimate and beautiful. The dress originally modelled around my own body was to illustrate the revealing of my own deep inner faith and the fractals of colour are used to demonstrate colour in its truest and purest form, dynamic and undiluted and with out imitation.

Workshop aims;
Having now viewed the first workshop footage with Johannes and Michelle, what we are attempting to achieve from this follow up workshop is to concentrate on ‘series of movement’ ‘the repeat action’ with emphasis on the hands and arms and capturing and experimenting with ‘composition and intimate angle shots’, looking at many different perspectives of the same movement/action.

It would also be good to continue to work on the idea of the three-person interaction.
To recap the original meaning behind the use of the three;
Whenever there are three ‘the two’ are playing the role of the imitation of movement.
For example in the last workshop Marie and Helen used Sharp arm and head movements directed away from the outer core structure worn by Natalie to symbolise the pulling of this structure through expressive movements.

I know after the last workshop Yoonbo expressed an interest in having some input into some of his own shots/compositions to add to the photographic element of the visual experience. So may be it would be good to make time for this in the later part of the first w,shop? So that the filmic part remains focused, and as before their will opportunity to photograph throughout filming.



NOTES FROM ARIZONA AFTER first test rehearsal with the Arziona dress-vessel design (Galina Mihalova):

03-16 Post Tuesday rehearsal

Congrats on today's event. I think we are onto something here. Today's event was stimulating and I see much potential for future development. This Thursday will be a good first step, a chance to try and sequence some material in time, develop and refine a group process, and commune with our
telematic neighbors.

I would like to throw out some ideas in response to today. Please feel free to respond, correct, refute and/or concur.

The idea is of a garment (an antique garment in our case) that is imbued with memory traces, history. These traces include traces of the garment when it was new, when it was handed down, when children played in it, wore it, and so on (perhaps even of those who made it!).

Virtual.Physical.Memorial - Performers in different spaces.continents share a garment through a shared projection stream. The stream emanates at once
from Arizona, then from the UK, and back and forth. This stream is a stream of memories, unconscious memories from just below the surface, images that rarely if ever have surfaced as thoughts but have been ever present much like a shadow.....these images now become the virtual fabric that connects the performers.

This virtual fabric has as its manifestation the garment (empty dress that is all potential) at each site and the "content" shared as a stream between sites, one at NTU and one at ASU. These parts can be composited into a whole, either one on top of the other, or overlayed. The memories, associations, other even more subtle traces rise to the surface...become manifest in movement, interaction, stillness, silence.

The garment(s) are animated, brought to life by the images projected upon them. This is the animation from without.

The garments can also be animated from within, by the performers. Here the performers react to what they see on the garment(s), or to activities of the other performer. The performers react to each other. Ultimately, (not for this Thursday) they are also interacting with the process of making or combining the images, sound, streams.

One idea for sound at ASU is to have a palette of sounds at the disposal of the performer for Thursday. I didn't have time to get this together for today, just the humble beginnings. Imagine Helen, to turn over everything you were doing today with images to the actions of the performer. This is my
goal with the sound. A little rough/repetitive today but more to come.

Staging suggestions:
It seems to me that we could start with the dresses alone, devoid of performers, and admire them as empty vessels charged with potential.
Johannes, is it possible for your team to arrange for a "form" to hold the garment at rest? These garments at rest can be composited together, one on top of the other or overlayed, and enjoyed as empty vessels for a few minutes, maybe 10.

Perhaps the performers can insinuate themselves into the garments, creating a transition from the unoccupied to the occupied. Once fully occupied, the performers can proceed to interact for a period of perhaps 10 minutes. It might be nice for the performers to have the opportunity to exchange ideas
with each other before the event....Johannes is it possible for Keira to email with your performer? This way perhaps some direction and a set of improv landmarks can be established.

At the end.....well this is still a toss up. Depending on your world view and disposition...we could end up or down? Thoughts? Preferences?

Warmest regards,

I have a couple of things to add! But first, Galina I didn't say enough about your contribution yesterday. The dress worked very extremely well and I look forward to the developments we have been discussing.

My things to add are related to sound. Johannes, we liked the idea of combining sounds between sites. Can you plan for this on Thursday? Will Brazil have sound as well? Our sound will be interactive and hopefully at the disposal of the performer in some regards.

We have also been discussing spoken text, and I am interested in that. I think the ideal for me would be for the performers to be able to speak, and so for us we keep much of the activity centered on Keira.


03-14 M. Danjoux Notes

I have read all your correspondence/correspondence from ADAPT partners/Jo etc, sent to me so far, thankyou and am exploring a number of possibilities for Thursday's event (smpathetically to others suggestions) I have been extremely busy working on various prototypes/design possibilities for the 'Telematic Dress.' Interestingly, the more I have explored ideas (around the sleeve), the more abstracted my thoughts and 3D piece have become (in terms of process). I have now managed through the (time consuming) process of construction (of sleeve), to completely deconstruct the process to bring me to an idea where designer and performer work together (inspired by fabric and roughly cut cloth, suggesting partial intervention), to create form/sleeve/telematic dress.
I now have 3 prototype sleeves, worked on (by myself), to varying degrees, the calico sleeve (cream), the chiffon sleeves (ochre and olive green) and the wool/silk sleeve (soft pink).
The strongest piece in my opinion is the third one, the wool/silk sleeve, the fabric is exquisite and the potential for peformance and connection to our partners strongest. This would be a 'time based' piece, the start point for ideas development.
Sleeve 3, Wool/silk piece:
The fabric is roughly cut and drapes down the left (could be right) side of the body, loosely connecting to the opposite side of the body at the wrist/knotted. Fabric waiting to be explored by the designer/performer... The designer has only begun to partially work on the fabric, suggesting at the emergence of form on the body, (as oppose to over describing). Intervention has begun, evidence of this lies at the wrist and the shoulder, (suggesting the emergence of the sleeve), the rest of the form is loose and open to suggestion/interpretation.
Stretchy, 'connective' strands (ligaments) across the chest area hold the fabric to the body. The designer and performer discuss the concept together and work together on the creative process and the emergence of various forms/design possibilities.
Movements explore balance and counterbalance, the fabric, it's tactile qualities and placement on the body. The fabric will impact on the movement of the body and the movements of the body on the formation of the piece.
I have also been working on the head piece, which at this point is only partially successful.
I will send you some images to help you visualise my concept.
In terms of choreography of the piece, do you have any reference material on 'balance/counterbalance'?
Also do you have a contact for Helenna, or could you ask that she bring all in one piece, black ballet pumps (if she has a pair), hairbrush etc. Ideally the emergent sleeve should be worn over a 'flesh' coloured body stocking, what do you think Helenna would think of this?



from Carla Rocha, Corpos Informaticos, Brasil

Yes! It would be great to connect with you and the partners on Thursday, March 17. Just confirm the time, so I can set up with the Brazilian Group. That would be sometime between 3 pm and 7 pm New York time, is that right?  If  you  like just 30 mim to connect with you, we need a exact time, so we are warmed up.  I personally, and I think my Group share the same feeling, that 30 mim its not enough for a real interactivity  on line,  but we can connect before the set up time and work on the concepts watching you.

I am already thinking and processing about the theme: telematic dress:  "connective tissue", that I loved! I think fits really well the concerns our group is working on later...
By the way the image was a foot and an heel, yes, it's a scanner image of Bia's foot. In this specific installation we scanned  Bia's body, skin, birthday marks, and in a performance, we worked the “plasticity of an surgery", cutting this skin and sewing it with pins and placing them back on the wall.

The installation ambiance was hospital like, and the video was the images of the body being scanned, with a guttural sound.
I am sending some pics from this installation soon.

From M Danjoux
I am reading all the correspondence with interest and would like to make some connecting points:

jdm's ideas/piece:

'The idea is of a garment (an antique garment in our case) that is imbued
with memory traces, history. These traces include traces of the garment when
it was new, when it was handed down, when children played in it, wore it,
and so on (perhaps even of those who made it!).'

Link very well with the ideas I am exploring in my designs, all three sleeve prototypes are fragments in partial stages of construction/deconstruction and hold memories:

The calico sleeve communicates with the past through historically inspired detailing (and later print/hand painted/projected imagery). Then to the future with integrated technology to create an intelligent piece, an idea for further development.

The chiffon sleeve speaks of a previous garment form it held (recycled cloth/garment).

The wool/silk sleeve, starts from a fine old piece of found cloth, rediscovered and still retaining the memory of a past garment/pattern pieces cut from it...

'It seems to me that we could start with the dresses alone, devoid of
performers, and admire them as empty vessels charged with potential.'

All 3 prototypes (sleeves) could be explored both on and off the body, as fragments waiting to be adorned/acted upon by the body.

Johannes, you say in response to my last images sent to you that:

'(in terms of how you photographed the hands, with the hands and pieces of accessories on the floor, this could also work really for us in that manner, on the floor or a table, for the interface with the Brasilians.'

Yes, I was thinking about this, (having seen the heel and Achilles tendon image) and about focus and intimacy of the image.

Also, the 'projected image,' features strongly and I was wondering would it be possible (tomorrow night) to project a flower (oriental Lilly type) onto the calico sleeve and partly onto the body? I was initially going to hand paint the piece, but it would work more in line with others ideas, (Galina and jdm) if the image was projected?

Michèle D





Project directors: Johannes Birringer & Michèle Danjoux



Brunel University, West London