In the absence of the human body, the exhibition is seen as a new performance in which the physical body is replaced by an idea or a memory – in other words, by a virtual presence. (Pantouvaki 2014)
Costume in the Absence of the Body
Presenting costume in an exhibition context raises issues as to how to convey the original feeling of the garment within a new, usually motionless environment, due to the absence of the performer’s body.
- How can the original spirit of a costume be documented, remembered and (re-)presented in an exhibition, where the body is only implied?
- What is the performativity of costume after the performance?
In the absence of the human body, the exhibition is seen as a new performance in which the physical body is replaced by an idea or a memory – in other words, by a virtual presence. There, the performativity of costume is challenged: one costume becomes another when shown at an exhibition, where new notional and spatial metaphors are created.
This project explored the choices involved in a curatorial and design process when exhibiting costume, focusing on the interrelation of performance costumes with a new given space. It is suggested that a new space may evoke looking at costume from a new perspective, where the performative potential of space enhances the performativity of costume. Multiple curatorial questions were examined and a specific exhibition project served to explore the agency of costume when presented/performed without its most significant component: the body.
The curation and exhibition design for the case study project entitled Yannis Metsis – Athens Experimental Ballet was commissioned by the Foundation Hellenic World in cooperation with the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation. The event was hosted at the Cultural Centre Hellenic Cosmos in Athens from November 2011 until June 2012.