‘InHABITing Dress’ is a video installation that explores how the habitual behaviour of the performer can have a physical affect on the costume. The moving image work shows the gradual transformation of the costume as the performer habitually pulls and picks apart the fabric revealing the body beneath. It explores costume as a spatio-temporal event and as a performative agent rather than a decorative layer.
Emma’s work explores the parameters of costume, vacillating between performance art and costume design, with focus on the ‘tipping points’ of where costume meets quotidian life. Frequently the works are absent of the ‘actor’ and examine the vestimentary through herself as ‘performer’. Central to Emma’s work is the proposition that costume must distinguish itself from decorative layering and be looked at as, or become a performing agent.
InHABITing Dress video installation was presented at the Prague Quadrennial for Performance Design and Space in 2011 and awarded as ‘Best Costume Design for Theatre’, described by the judges as showing “extreme stylisation” and “conceptual strength” of the costume design.
Emma Ransley graduated in Design and Performance with First Class Honors in 2009 at Te Kura Toi Whakaari o Aotearoa, Massey University – New Zealand, and currently teaches on a performance design degree at the same university. She is also pursuing a Masters of Fine Art. Along with academic and artistic pursuits, Emma spent five years working in the film, television and theatre industry, designing for New Zealand’s top production companies.