Thursday, June 7, 2012

4th wall? Pfft.

I know, right. Two posts in a week? What, is the sky falling?
Maybe. It's been pretty wet and cold in Newcastle of late. I have to dress for snow weather in order to approach the Darkrooms at Uni, and required dunking in hot water to defrost when I got home. But still.

I guess that the upping has been a little to do with Uni. This is both work and procrastination for me; Work because I'm blogging about Uni, and procrastination because it is a more fun method than simply typing things out in Word and printing it off. What can I say? Tactile thinking is just more fun. Anyway. Here goes with the next concept I'm working with.

This is project #2 for Fibres. Being out of sequence is fun because it confuses everyone, and I feel that brings us all down to my level.

'Do you know what's going on? No? Ok. Me neither.'

The name of the module is called 'The Fabric of Myth' and relates directly to the role of fibres and textiles in myth. Golden fleeces, windbags, shrouds and string-operated GPS systems (wait. Did I just double-state something?) all relate heavily to myth and the use of textiles, and Greek myths, which are the basis for 'classical' mythology, are a bag of fun. I think I just lost my thought train.


I was originally going to create a spin on the story of Icarus and Daedalus, and make some wearable art that was wings. This got changed slightly a lot when I went to Ironfest in...wait. When was that? April. I think.
Ironfest is in Lithgow, and after trying to explain it to a few people who had no idea what I was babbling about, got simplified to 'something like a produce fair for Medieval enthusiasts'

Pictured: Sparta. Source

Ironfest is a bucketful of things more than that, because the medieval enthusiasts happen to usually be interested in things like Steampunk and Doctor Who. This fact is important. Save it for later. The fact that the festival is also held in Lithgow (which is somewhere in the Blue Mountains, in the freezing bit) means that they behave a bit different around pointy objects than the guys who run Anime conventions in the city. Go to Animania and your props need to be made from foam, cardboard or balsa wood. Go to Ironfest and people are walking around with legit swords and machetes and selling said swords and machetes and assorted pointy things.

They had things to look at and things to do, and my friends and I took great interest in Archery (that you could partake in), Horseback Archery (Which spectators could spectate but not try out (understandably)), Jousting (see above), Falconry (Also just a viewing) and the Gran Melee (guys in chainmail and half-plate armour hitting each other with swords. Do the mathematics on audience participation yourself).

All of these things were excellent, and most of them we took care to check out in detail on the Saturday rather than the Sunday.

See, for the last month, and in frightening concentration over the last three days, we had been constructing our own costumes for wearing at Ironfest. Dressing up was not mandatory but there were a lot of people at the event in varying degrees of anachronistic wear. And a gimp. And a lady with no pants.

Those last two bits are not important.

So, our group had been constructing costumes because there are only so many places where it is acceptable to wear something spun entirely from fiction.

This is where the story begins to track back to it's origin and away from tangents involving Brooke's first experience of Dutch Pancakes.

We'd made Weeping Angel costumes.

Weeping Angels are one of the monsters that grace the screen of Doctor Who. They are...wait. Mister Tennant? Care to explain?

This is going to be fun for my Tutor who actually gets to mark the work and finds just the video link.

Hi Brett!

The basic concept behind the Weeping Angels is that they can't move while you're looking at them. When you blink, they can move (frightfully quickly) and if they touch you, they send you back in time (if you're lucky) and consume the energy you would have expended in the present. If you're not so lucky they'll just kill you.

Also, we find another excellent easter egg later in the Canon of Doctor Who. Anything that takes the image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel. Photographs; videos. Don't look at one in the eyes or it'll plant a seed of one in your mind. Weeping Angels seem to in general possess the same 'screw the 4th wall' tendencies that Costumers and Cosplayers display when creating.

Oh. Cosplay?
I mentioned it a while ago in this post. I guess I'll keep adding to it over time.

Cosplay = Costume Play.

Recreating a character from fiction into the real world. There's usually some degree of role play involved in there too. But why do we do it?

I think there's a combination of factors.

Retelling the myth (story)
Becoming the protagonist/character
Enjoying some kind of escape through whimsy-
Taking part in an adventure beyond desks and paper and computers.

"Can't work. Busy fighting Angels."

There may also be some identifying factor between the individual and the character portrayed (which is why I pick my cosplays carefully) or maybe the character is just very good at wiping the floor with the faces of his enemies.

That aside, I think the adventure factor is fairly prominent. In the same way that you watch a Die Hard film for the amount of things John McClane can improbably explode, people interested in the realm of Costume and Character love a good suspension of disbelief.

Ran out of bullets? You just fired 20 shots from that one magazine!

This is especially relevant in our case, because when my mates and I rocked up at Ironfest decked from head to toe in grey paint and foam wings, we got to experience the other end of the stick. We were the characters spun from fiction. The walking myth. And it was a lot of fun.

See, a good cosplay is accurate.
A great cosplay is where the wearer is willing to behave like the character.
A brilliant cosplay is when the audience completes the myth and responds appropriately to the thing being portrayed.

We had people for a radius of ten metres staring at us, murmuring 'don't blink' and the like, staring us down. Small kids followed in our wake clamouring at how we weren't supposed to move because they were looking at us.

I may have been reading too much in the last week.

Far from it being that they thought we were legit; the people we met that day were willing to play along because we all knew the rules to this imaginary game, and it allowed us to spin fiction into reality with quite amusing results.

When we were finishing the costumes (on the vacant lot next to Jo's relative's house), panicking and trying to remember to eat before heading out, Jo stated that he would be happy if we had one person ask for a photo.

We left on Sunday evening as very happy people.

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