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Organising a performance piece is not easy. After finding a date that suited my models (my wonderful uni friends who are also very busy with their own work) and giving myself time to make the outfits, I got back in touch with the contractor responsible for the land at Park Place. I was told that by the date I had chosen the construction team would be finished and the land would be a car park, not quite the urban void I had in mind. Luckily I was prepared for this set back and had looked into alternative sites.
All sites had pros and cons but the one that seemed to be near perfect is picture number one, an empty space at the Stack Leisure Park in Dundee. This land is situated amongst busy supermarket shops with many people driving and walking right past it without a second glance. This would be the perfect spot for my urban void fashion film, a performance that will make people notice the emptiness in a busy area.
The only thing that still stands on this land is a blue gate. I think that this lonesome gate adds to the empty feeling of the area and brings life to my urban void concept. It separates the bustling from the empty, the performers from the spectators.
After speaking to the security guards at the leisure park I was given the contact details of the man who owns the land. Unfortunately, I have had no reply from him but I decided to go around the owner and circle back to the security guards to ask their permission. They agreed to let me use this site for my fashion film and were very helpful.
As mentioned in my previous post, I really wanted to draw the footprint of the Park Place School building on the land it once stood on in white chalk. This would suggest what is missing while giving my performers a stage. I’ve taken this idea and tweaked it to match the new site at the Stack. After contacting Martin Allan from the Dundee City Archives I was given the footprint of the old jute mills that once stood here. The link that you can access here- http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=56.4752&lon=-3.0182&layers=168&b=1
– allows you to see both modern day Dundee and historic Dundee and fascinatingly interchange between the two. I will use the shape of the old jute mill to draw in chalk and this will be the area that my models will stand and use as their catwalk. I am excited by the combination of Historic Dundee with contemporary fashion film and the nostalgic feeling it will hopefully induce in passers-by. I want my audience to stop, notice what is not there, and feel the strange emptiness.
So now the site is confirmed, it was back to the costumes. As mentioned in my previous post, I was looking at the material of Tyvek to create my masterpieces. With the stress of time and money, I decided to purchase a coverall made of Tyvek rater than a roll of the material as this is expensive and I was not sure how much I would need. It was now easier to adjust the coverall to a dress from an already made bodysuit. My main idea was to make the costumes big. I wanted them to really catch the attention of the passers-by and to not only make them notice the models, but the empty land that they are standing on. What i enjoyed about this material is how it relates to the land itself. As previously mentioned, the site I am working on used to play host to a jute mill, a fabric that became outdated when polypropylene was invented. Polypropylene is almost identical to polyethylene, the fibers that make up Tyvek. I love how my outfits will represent the change in Dundee that left this land empty. I will fill this site with the reason it was emptied. Another link to the jute mills was my choice of models. I have chosen females as the majority of workers in jute mills were female. I will have 3 models as the females outranked males by 3-1. I also wanted to bring the void concept into the costume by creating cut-out holes.
Again, I am no textile student or fashion designer so I had to make do with the skills that I have, all while learning new ones. I wasn’t sure the best way to adjust the material so tried a few different techniques. As I wanted the costume to be big and theatrical, I decided to add wire into it to give it structure and shape. However, it was getting the wire to stay in the material that was the problem. I tried different aids from hemming web, mending tape, fabric glue and even double sided tape. Luckily no one will be looking at the inside of the costumes!
The costume had began to take shape thanks to my mother for both modeling and helping. The wire created shape at the hem, arms and waist and around the cut-out holes. To make the costume even bigger I used waste material from the legs and arms and added them back on.
I then lathered my mixture of shaving foam and PVA glue onto the costume to add more texture and relate it back to the work I have been doing earlier this semester.
So that is one costume down, two to go with just less than a month until the performance. I will also have an amazing photographer on hand who I have previously worked with on fashion shoots. I believe that being both the director and photographer will be very difficult so it will be great to have a friend there to see things from another perspective and give me professional tips.
I have also been researching fashion films, particularly those on photographer Nick Knights’ SHOWstudio. I have been noting the film techniques such as slow cinema and photography techniques e.g. stop motion. I hope to use a mixture of both film and photography adding in special effects to create a film that is both fashion and fine art. I have also been inspired by the movement of the models in Gucci’s Cruise 2016 campaign and hope to incorporate a fun, free dance vibe to my own film. Stay tuned for further progression in costumes, print and film.