The foamsuit#1 came into being as part of my research for the ‘AcouSuit,’ which I designed for the SPOR Festival 2017: A suit that uses its specially structured surface to adapt sounds from outside to the acoustic preferences of its wearer; a piece of clothing that affects its surroundings optically as well as acoustically.
Polyurethane foam was my choice to achieve these effects. It is light, elastic, heat- and soundproof, affordable and durable. Its appearance in colour and shape evokes images of bacon fat or layered cloth. Its even stiffness allows for any curves occurring as a result of bending or folding to appear soft and organic, no kinks, just curves.
In the process of becoming familiar with the material, I took foam pieces in various sizes, experimented with hems in different places and joined the individual pieces together with glue and thread. At the end of the first day foamsuit#1 had been created.
A broad piece of elastic, cream-coloured material makes up the main part of the suit, which is pulled over the head, sits on the shoulders, goes underneath both arms and closes in cuffs around the wrists, holding white underarm parts, shaped conically like the shell of a hermit crab. The shoulders are decorated with wide, white epaulettes, like a suit of armour, made of soft but protective material. The wearer’s upper arms are free.
The chest section forms a sort of trio of three identical white wings with pink rectangles at their tips. It is built so that it dynamically adapts to the movements of the wearer, acting like the coarse grinding mouthpart of a crustacean.
On the neck of the suit is a wide white collar. Its three large, flower-like vaults decorate the wearer’s upper back and create a form reminiscent of a peacock’s tail, which folds behind the head of the wearer when they raise their arms.
A single, overlapping, cream coloured flap forms the back of the suit. Doubly bound, it is similar to the tie on the back of a kimono or to the back of a bird. It is sewn on with threads under the main wing of the suit.
The final part of the suit is a baroque style scarf, which is made out of a long piece of foam, rolled up on both sides, decorated with a floral pink brooch at the point where its ends meet.
While the material of foamsuit#1 is homogenous (two materials: foam and thread), it evokes associations with many things: flesh, bacon, birds, shells, layered pieces of fabric. These merge to form an ancient, oriental, festive martial garment made of modern and unconventional material, which additionally is functional as the collar raises and provokes archaic mating and territory-fighting rituals.
Translation from German:
Mary Grace Quigley