Altai Shamans worshipped the mother sun and the father moon as their gods. Sun and Moon gods would fight with evil spirits and protect their people from danger. Yet sometimes, evil spirits would capture the gods, causing solar and lunar eclipses. To save their gods, Altai people would shout, drum and make incredible noises during the eclipse.

Eclipse is an interactive dance costume that creates its own visual and sonic environment based on the wearer’s movements. It tells the story of a Shaman Eclipse through its light play and dynamic soundscape.

Eclipse introduces a new way of storytelling through an interactive dance costume inspired by Altai Shamanism. The costume creates its own visual and sonic environment in response to the dancer’s movements. It goes beyond a dance costume which usually acts as a prop and becomes a performer itself. It has a personality involving a dynamic yet unpredictable range of movements, over which the user has limited control.

What makes a live performance much more effective than a recorded, edited and perfected one is the element of randomness and unpredictability of it. I made use of this fact while creating the Eclipse dress, it comes to life with the movements of the dancer and adds a unique touch to each performance.

In Eclipse, I explore the paths between dynamic storytelling and multisensory perception. We perceive the world through different modalities. The information provided from multiple modalities are processed interdependently in our brain. The environment around us dynamic; the visual, sonic, olfactory, tactile and gustatory elements are constantly changing. So why should a story be limited to a static environment? It should be as dynamic as life is. Eclipse explores a dynamic storytelling environment where the sonic and visual elements change during a performance as well as in different performances.

Photo Credit: Daniel Mastretta Jimenez, Riley Kalbus
Special thanks to dancers Betty Quinn and Kiki Sabater