WoNoMute: "The Liberation of the Feet" (Alexandra Murray-Leslie)
This month's WoNoMute seminar features Alexandra Murray-Leslie: The Liberation of the Feet: Costuming the Foot for Theatrical Audiovisual Expression As a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’
Building upon my established history as a performance artist and pop musician, this keynote performance investigates new ways of costuming the foot for theatrical audiovisual expression as a ‘gesamtkunstwerk’—an all-embracing artwork that adopts and makes use of many artforms and disciplines. Through the development of a series of Computer Enhanced Footwear (CEF) prototypes, this keynote demonstrates how this gesamtkunstwerk came together through the intersection of fashionable costume design, pop music, dance choreography, lens-based work, scenography, kinesiology, sound and lighting system design and 3D fabrication practices. Resulting in a unified body of work, grounded by the notion that shoes and feet are more than simply tools to help carry our bodies around. They can be reimagined through the act of performance and the application of audiovisual technology to make a statement, semantically communicate social-political concerns and facilitate free, spontaneous expression.
Explorations of philosophical concepts around the feet and footwear from anthropology, natural science and medical literature are featured in this research, along with examples and descriptions of foot-based designs related to prosthetics, fashion, pop music, and performance art to illustrate the vast potentials for the feet as instruments, costumes and more.
Detailed portrayals of my personal art method are presented to showcase my cross-disciplinary, reflexive and experimental practice-based approach, which occurred within varied contexts and settings, including fabrication workshops, sports science laboratories, pole dance studios, music festival stages, fashion catwalks and art museum events. As well as illustrate how these divergent practices converged during the research, to create the CEF prototypes and shape their materials, functions and aesthetics, in an effort to liberate the feet when in the air, on the ground or submerged in water.
Dr. Alexandra Murray-Leslie is artistic researcher & co-founder of art band Chicks on Speed. Her research focuses on iterative prototyping of semantic foot devices for audiovisual theatrical expression in water, air and on land. She is adjunct faculty at The University of Art and Design, Linz. Current projects include being invited artistic research fellow, ARTEC program, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) 2018.