Workshop # 6 Appearing Apperances

The workshop took place from Monday August 16th till Friday August 27th 2021 at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHIO), Oslo, Norway

Workshop # 6 Appearing Apperances, was a workshop in which costume designers were provided with conditions to create performances starting from their garments or other materials. The designers were Natálie Rajnišová, Jitka Pospíšilová, Berit Haltvik With with Jenny Hilmo Teig and Lotta Barlach.

LINK TO VIDEO DOCUMENATION (25 minutes):  Please double-click at the video to enter full screen

Designers: Natálie Rajnišová, Jitka Pospíšilová, Berit Haltvik With with Jenny Hilmo Teig and Lotta Barlach.

Performers/ creative collaborators: Berit Einemo Frøysland, Rebekka Andersen, Kjersti Stenby, Anna Ladegaard, Matilda Gustavsson Drobina and Olivia Hansson 

Light design: Ingeborg Straxsrud Olerud and Kaja Glenne Lund

Interviewer: Christina Lindgren

Research supervisors: Rachel Hann and Christina Lindgren 

Research assistance: Debora Styvsova

Production management: Camilla Svingen/ Syv Mil AS

Film recording and editing: Vibeke Heide/ Sentimeter Film

Film recording Göteborg: Camilla Topuntoli

Recorded at Oslo National Academy of the Arts and Skogen, Göteborg, Sweden

Photo by Espen Tollefsen and Camilla Topuntoli





When two stories meet

 I am still fascinated by the idea of costume as an independent phenomenom and as a tool to change the body, to set the freedom of the performer by hiding it. That was for me the starting point when I was choosing my costumes from two different performances created during the last two years. Each of my costumes I chose belongs to its own story. These contexts were really important for me during creating the conception so I decided to bring them to Norway and rediscover them. And my main task was to make my two costumes – characters meet for the first time. 

Since the beginning I was interested in oscillating between the partly rehearsed performance and the performative installation. Both characters have somehow encoded in their narratives the topic of the travel so we tried to realise the „real travel“ from outdoor space of the campus to theatre black box and experience this very expected meeting. And I think these were the moments where my costumes became agentic. They could spent non-binding time in their home-environments without any limits and live their „real lives“. 

Photo Espen Tollefsen



Weird Dream

Costume research which was the final doctorate project dealing with the topic of Extreme Costume. Costumes created with the following questions in mind: “How long can a visually attractive costume stay on stage before it completely exhausts the audience’s attention? Can a single visually prominent costume be the buildingstone of a whole production? What should a costume look like to offer enough room for change and have the potential of creating new stimuli?”

This is what sparked the Prague performance Lavka. I partially had the feeling that the field of research was exhausted, but I was curious whether there was something to be found beyond. I wanted to accept the challenge and find out what happens when costumes find themselves in new contexts and with different intent. That is why I decided not to follow up on the original story or use the costumes in a similar fashion but to start anew. Oslo gave our research team the opportunity of a playful experiment, the possibility to create completely different situations and atmospheres with the same costumes. The path we took showed us that using costumes as the base for a performance can be much richer than we had imagined. The costume by far does not have to be a character, it is enough, for example, for it to be an abstract cloud or just to exist without an actor in sight.

Photo Espen Tollefsen




The project started as a visual exploration in collaboration with an art photographer. In a time where the area (an industrial harbour in Trondheim in Norway) is being regulated for new buildings, we wanted to turn the inside of our atelier out and show how the harbour has shaped some of our work. We found new ways to make the costumes visible for spectators during a pandemic. The costume pieces were already designed and made for different performances. We improvised new ways of showing the costume pieces that differed from the original characters and the new creations were put together based on texture and colour in an open process. The creations combined costume pieces from both costume designers’ work.  

The research workshop shifted the focus into finding movements and images that would last longer and displaying the costumes in a new performative setting. Through improvisation the designers and performers found many possibilities in movement and shape that gave an associative narrative for the performance.

The performance became an act of transformation from the abstract to the more specific. Having a narrative that started in poetic landscapes continued into ambiguous absurdity and ended in something rather humorous that also carried a psychological interaction of human relationships. 

Photo Espen Tollefsen



The Weight of Lavender

Significant elements of the costumes I brought to the workshop are scent, sound and weight. One of the two silk costumes contain lavender, whereas the other one carries cardamom seeds. I aimed to explore how these elements affected the performers and the audience, and to find a direction for a continuation. As a designer, I usually strive to give inherent qualities of the materials I work with significant roles as they seem to carry stories that awakens my curiosity. I intended to apply a similar method when I and the costumes were to be given the choreographer role. I listening to the unique and universal knowledge of the dancers and gave them creative space within the concept that the costumes held. The dancers explored and explained impressions and elements such as how the weights affected their postures. They experimented with what could be done with the costumes. We discussed what the scents and the sounds evoke and transformed interpretations into movements. The research supervisors of the workshop reminded us to exaggerate the limitations that the costumes offered and to slow the tempo down. The rituality of the movements combined with the scents, weights and sounds of the costumes did affect the impressions that the audience experienced of the performance we held. 

Photo by Camilla Topuntoli


About the method in this research workshop 

Four designers were selected through an open call with deadline January 6th 2020 (with joined call for Critical Costume 2020 Conference and Exhibition).  Each participant brought garments and ideas that they wanted to try out in the workshop. Each designer was provided with:

  • Individually 7 sessions x 3 hours daily, totally 21 hours with two dancers
  • All workshop participants met for feedback and brainstorming sessions to help each other think and create 2 x 6 hours, totally 12 hours
  • Individual tutorials with the research team
  • Light design by a light designer
  • Access to a performance space, in addition to access to light, sound and stage equipment
  • Photo and video recording of the performance on the final day

December 31, 2021
Written by christinasodja

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