Symbiosis - Exploration on the possibilities of sound-led costume design practice

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Lavastustaiteen maisteriohjelma
This Master’s thesis explored the possibilities of combining sound design as part of costume design process. The research focused on investigating how sound-led costume design can provide new ways to approach costume design process and how combining sound to costume affects the performativity, interactivity, and presence of the costume. The thesis consists of an artistic production component as well as a written component. The production component titled Symbiosis is a work designed to be experienced in an installation setting and as a short film. The production is a collaboration between me and a sound designer Juha Perä from Aalto University Master’s Programme in Art and Media with the Major in Sound in New Media. The goal of the research was to produce knowledge on a topic which lacks extensive research from costume designer’s perspective. In addition to the case study, additional knowledge and wider research scope on the topic was gathered through literature reviews focusing on research and writings on the topic of combining sound and costume as well as analysis of relevant artistic works. Displaying different examples from a variety of artistic fields highlights the large range of possibilities approaching this topic can offer. The main portion of the thesis consist of the detailed description and analysis of the case study Symbiosis. The different stages in sound design create the narrative of the installation and guide the participant through the interactions embedded in the costume. This process created an approach to costume as a multisensory experience with visual, haptic, and aural presence. The spatiality of the sound affected the spatiality of the costume, creating space in-side the costume as well as expanding the spatiality of the costume to the surrounding space through interactive spatial sound design. We chose to use wearable electronics for integrating the sound to the costume. This created an interactive aspect to the installation. As a result, in Symbiosis costume is approached as an interactive co-performer and companion. The sound design in the installation can be experienced through the physical interaction with the cos-tume. The integration of sound and interactivity to the costume created a post humanistic way of approaching the costume. Subsequently, the costume was approached from a costume cen-tric instead of a human centric perspective. In the fictional world of the installation the human participant is invited to experience the world through the point of view of the costume.
Pantouvaki, Sofia
Thesis advisor
Pesonen, Liisa
costume, costume design, sound design, sound-led, interactivity, wearable electronics
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Media files notes: Video documentations of Symbiosis Description: Part of the artistic production component of the thesis. Media creators: Italo Moncada Media rights: CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0