This paper explores the agency of extant 'resting' costume and its role as an envoi between learners, practitioners, and researchers of costume. Adopting and adapting Peter Korn's use of the term 'the object as emissary' from his text Why We Make Things & Why it Matters: The Education of a Craftsman (2013), my research is replacing Korn's 'object' with 'costume.' Korn maintains that his crafted furniture is an emissary 'sent out into the world on his behalf.' (2013:67) I am proposing that extant costume generates the same agency between the previous practitioner and current maker, made tangible through its resurrection. Examining the porosity between the costume and the novice or skilled practitioner echoing Aoife Monks avowal of the prevailing porous relations on stage between the actor, the costume, and the audience' (2010: 3) in her text An Actor in Costume. As costume practitioners, and learners we read and respond to the previous maker through their aesthetic and technical choices, visible through the extant costume. Their agency made legible through the crafted costume emphasising the agency of extant costume experienced through an 'embodied practice' established in Hilary Davidson's paper 'The Embodied Turn: Making and Remaking Dress as an Academic Practice' (2019).
The Costume as Emissary
Conference paper from Critical Costume 2020
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