About Costume Agency

This artistic research project researches the agency of costume in performance and how costume can generate or be a centre of gravitation in a performance.

Costume Agency is supported by Norwegian Artistic Research Program and Oslo National Academy of the Arts.

Aoife Monks, the author of “The Actor in Costume” states that costume is that what is indistinct from the body, yet something that can be removed. We believe that costume is, as all elements in the entity of a performance, mutually influenced by the other elements. We take Monks theory one step further and claim that costume is an interaction between the four components: garment, body, action and context, and that these four components form one dynamic whole. We want to research this unity from the starting point of the garment.

Over the duration of this project a series of performances will be developed where costume will serve as a starting point and core element. To ensure the fulfilment of the vision that is imbedded in the garment, this research requires the costume designer to take the creative lead in the project, responsible for the artistic vision from initial idea to final presentation. 

Our research goal is to explore the full performative potential of garments holistically within the complex system of body-garment-action-context. The approach will be partly phenomenological and partly socio-political.  
The research is primarily approached in workshops lead by costume designers, which pursue the vision embedded in the garment. The workshop format follows a set dogma that involves six designers and four performers for eight days of rehearsals, over a period of twelve days of explorations, dialogue and development. There will be ten workshops in total. 

Ongoing research is mostly academic and artefact-based, with less artistic practice based methods. We want to utilize the momentum in academic research to propose a complimentary project based on artistic research. The project maintains a dialogue with a reference group of academics. They will act as respondents, studying our findings and questioning the artists in their methods of working, thinking and creating. The final presentation, a festival in 2020, will be a platform where a larger group of artists and academia meet. 

The potential of the project to break new ground lies in a unique possibility for the costume designer to control the resources of the performance and the possibility for a common platform for academic and artistic reflection. 
The project will run from August 2018 through December 2021. 

Activity plan Costume Agency

Autumn 2018: 

Lotker and Lindgren preparing and planning

Spring 2019: 

Week 1 and 2: Workshop #1 Hedda Gabler at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHIO)

Week 10 and 11: Workshop # 2 Devising Garment at the Academy of the Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU) 

June 6th till 16th: Presentation on Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Architecture: Saturday 8th 2020 at PQ Talk: http://www.pq.cz/projects/event-detail-en/?exhibition=243&day=sat-8

Autumn 2019: 

Week 43 and 44: Workshop #3 Performing Costume at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHIO)

Spring 2020:

Preparing for Critical Costume Conference and Exhibition 2020 with the theme Costume Agency in Oslo.

Autumn 2020: 

August 21sttil 23rd: Critical Costume Conference and Exhibition 2020 with the theme Costume Agency in Oslo. For Video Library and further documentation, please visit www.costumeagency.com

Spring 2021: 

Workshop # 4 at Aalto University in Helsinki

Autumn 2021:

Week 33 and 34 (August 16thtil 27st) at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHIO): Costume Agency Workshop # 5, 6 and 7 

Week 47 and 48: Workshop # 8 at the Academy of the Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU)

Journal Studies in Costume and Performance will dedicate an issue to the theme agency of costume

Spring/ autumn 2022: 


October 2022: Final dissemination within the frame of NARP (Norwegian Artistic Research Program) and DIKU (Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education)

April 1, 2019
Written by christinasodja

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