Modelling Defiguration

Franziska Bork Petersen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


For the presentation of his autumn/winter 2012 collection in Paris and subsequently in Copenhagen, Danish designer Henrik Vibskov installed a mobile catwalk. The article investigates the choreographic impact of this scenography on those who move through it. Drawing on Dance Studies, the analytical focus centres on how the catwalk scenography evokes a ‘defiguration’ of the walking models and to what effect.
Vibskov’s mobile catwalk draws attention to the walk, which is a key element of models’ performance but which usually functions in fashion shows merely to present clothes in the most advantageous manner. Stepping on the catwalk’s sloping, moving surfaces decelerates the models’ walk and makes it cautious, hesitant and shaky: suddenly the models lack exactly the affirmative, staccato, striving quality of motion, and the condescending expression that they perform on most contemporary catwalks. Vibskov’s catwalk induces what the dance scholar Gabriele Brandstetter has labelled a ‘defigurative choregoraphy’: a straying from definitions, which exist in ballet as in other movement-based genres, of how a figure should move and appear (1998). The catwalk scenography in this instance determines the models’ walk. Furthermore, letting the models set off sound through triggers with attached sound samples gives them an implied agency. This calls into question the designer’s unrestricted authorship.
TidsskriftPerformance Research: a journal of the performing arts
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)157
Antal sider160
StatusUdgivet - 2013

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