Wowzzzeee w/ Adele Varcoe, Melbourne Australia 

Presented at Arts House (13th - 21st March, 2018) for the Festival of Live Art & the Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF)  

The inherent value of clothing production and the fashion industry is explored in Wowzzzeee, a design research project experimenting with the intersection of fashion, scenography and performance.

The roles of consumer, factory worker, fashion model, and salesperson are theatrically reconfigured within the context of an immersive black-box, live art theatre space. Consumers/ audience members endure multiple uncanny experiences including an interrogation with a model, ironically becoming a factory worker/ sewing their own clothing and a narcissistic performative encounter with dance artists.

To intensify the experience with performers set design played a crucial role in creating paradoxical immersive spaces. The theatre space was carved into a series of maze-like rooms around a central over lit factory floor with sewing machines. The peripheral rooms (waiting room, interview room, fitting space, mirror dance hall) appear as luxuriant spaces but in fact deceptively crafted from discarded or low-cost prosaic materials. Dark and theatrical lighting is incorporated to heighten the paradox.

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Onesie is the loneliest number in Melbourne fashion. But the briefly loved, now much-maligned one-piece garment is coming out for the closet for a hands-on artwork titled Wowzzzeee. Artists Adele Varcoe and Matthew Bird are assembling a ‘onesie-stop shop’ at North Melbourne’s Arts House for the Festival of Live Art where dedicated followers of any fashion will be invited to make and wear a onesie with bling. “These ones have a real wow factor, Varcoe said yesterday, slipping into her own spangled jumpsuit. The event, Wowzzzeee guides visitors through a ‘garment factory’, a pseudo shop and a fitting room. Varcoe, who wears onesies every day of the year said: “Clothes inform the way we all interact, and we're amplifying that in our show. Most of all it’s fun”.

Words: Simon Plant (Herald Sun) / Photography Christine Francis

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