Costume Design: Ergonomics in Performance Art
Authors: Alexandra Cabral, Carlos Manuel Figueiredo
Abstract: The human body, in contemporary art, is used as a means, as it also is in fashion design practices applied to the art field, that explore the alteration of the anatomic perimeter in its impact on the user’s self-image, expression and transformation. Costumes that defy gesture bear a reflection on dress over body and we question how functionality (or the lack of it) can influence cognition – mostly when we expect a performer to feel and express the same way a character does and when the audience aims to feel the same way the character feels. Does the performer become a more reactive user towards dress under the realm of the action field of performance art, if interacting with a «non-user-friendly» costume? Since costume and body cannot be separated in performance art, we explore ergonomics, regarding both physical and psychological discomfort in improving the acting of a performer, namely when improvising or moving and in the contribution to a more proficient involvement with the audience. A noninterventionist methodology of qualitative basis is used, based on literary research and observation on the impact of different garments on a performer’s work, so as to obtain new indicators for costume design methodology.
Keywords: Body, Costume, Performance Art, Somatics, Kinesthetics, Fashion
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