White froth: palpitating body, sounding dress

Ha, W 2010, White froth: palpitating body, sounding dress, Masters by Research, Architecture and Design, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title White froth: palpitating body, sounding dress
Author(s) Ha, W
Year 2010
Abstract The project White Froth: Palpitating Body, Sounding Dress contemplates the phenomenon of dress and bodily experience. Set within the context of live performance, it explores the potential of sound and movement in evoking an affective experience of body-dress relation. The intent is to convey an alternative way of understanding dress, by augmenting the significance of the subjective body in contemporary studies of fashion and dress.

On this basis, my research asks:
How can body-dress relation be experienced through sound and movement?
How does the research suggest another way of understanding body-dress relation?

White Froth is the project that lies at the basis of this research. It was a collaboration with a sound designer and two independent dancers. It was presented as a public performance in March 2008; as a 30-minute spatial sound experience, that was sculpted, and sustained, by moving bodies in various ensembles of dress. The project explored the charged, contiguous relation between body and dress, building upon the premise that the body instigates, mediates, and communicates dress experience, inasmuch as the physicality of dress elicits an awareness of bodily experience. It predicated on dress as embodied experience, and sound and movement as having the capacity to express the intents, desires, and responses of the sensing body.

My research explores the significance of the body within the realms of contemporary fashion practice and dress studies. It draws upon certain fundamental elements from sound and performance studies, as well as artistic practices involving the live body. It is also inspired by the subtle poetics and phenomenology of everyday occurrence, in relation to concepts of sensory perception, experience, and subjectivity. By drawing upon a diverse range of practices and fields of study, the intent is to open out to an expansive and poetic understanding of dress experience through the body, positing the lively the body as a vital facet in thinking about dress.

By emphasising lived experience and subjectivity, my research focuses on a visceral and poetic understanding of body-dress relation that it is intrinsically subjective, elusive, and does not yield easily to reason. It suggests that we imagine the phenomena of the ‘palpitating body’ and ‘sounding dress’ as experiences that are acutely physical, visceral, and psychical. It acknowledges and pursues the potential of sensory phenomena as another way of experiencing body-dress relation. The experience of body-dress relation stretches across the boundless expanse of lived subjectivities; its resonance can be felt within the realms of the suggestive, the phenomenal, the ambiguous, the imaginative. Lived through the subject, the ‘palpitating body’ and ‘sounding dress’ are replete with potential experiences.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Architecture and Design
Keyword(s) sound of dress
movement of dress
body and dress
dress performance
sound and movement
sensory experience
phenomenology of dressing
poetic imagination
lived subjectivity
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