White Froth: An Experiment in Performance, Sound, Body and Dress
This paper is a reflection of my research project White Froth which explores the interaction between dress and the body through the medium of sound, as a way of triggering a multi-sensorial conceptualization of the dressed and dressing body. White Froth emerged over a nine-month period involving academics and practitioners working in fashion design, sound design, and performance. It was presented to the public for the first time in March 2008 in the form of an experiential event sitting at the edges of experimental live performance, spatial sound design, and dress design. This paper provides a critical analysis of the spectrum of interactions between sound, technology, dress, and the body encountered throughout the development of the project, with a view to seek refinement for future presentations.
The paper is structured into three parts:
i. Part one describes the conceptual underpinnings of White Froth – what it is and how it sits within the larger body of my research interest, focusing on how the body activates dress and vice versa, and the sensation of this interaction through sound.
ii. White Froth involved the use of microphones on the dressed body to capture the sounds of bodily gestures, which were then spatialized to dress the room with sound. Part two discusses this interaction or constant negotiation between body and technology, particularly how the latter functions as an extension to the body, at times a hindrance and others an aide.
iii. Microphones placed on the body affect the way of the gesture, whilst the gesture has a direct bearing on the generation of sound in the performance. On the other hand, the desire to generate specific sounds necessitates particular gestures; part three reports on this idiosyncratic negotiation between gesture and sound.
Keywords: Collaborative Practice, Interaction, Performance, Spatial Sound Curation, Bodily Awareness, Dress
Postgraduate Candidate, School of Architecture and Design, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology