- Ice Queen: Glacial Retreat Dress Tent
Dress Tents: Wearable Architecture
by Robin Lasser + Adrienne Pao
We are interested in the land and the body as sites of seduction. Dress Tents are a fusion of architecture, the body and the land played out through living sculpture, moving images and still photography. The wearable architecture is installed and worn in the landscape in order to be photographed. Humor is paramount in these photographs, which are meant to be alluring and whimsical. In other instances, the installations are performed and displayed in a gallery or museum as interactive living sculptures. These tent-like forms are worn at the opening reception and additional scheduled performance times. A dress form substitutes for the figure during the duration of the exhibition. The interior of the installations house video and sound pieces that refer to the original landscape.
By referencing modes of female representation such as “bare foot and in the kitchen” in the Picnic Dress Tent, or “mother nature” in the Greenhouse Dress Tent, the dress tents simultaneously utilize and address a history of fantasy associated with women. Through pop-culture humor, the Picnic Dress Tent examines our recreational activities in the landscape though playfully familiar scenarios that leave us to question and reexamine our flow of routine and our relationship to the body as site of cultural desire. A play on green house gasses and what it takes to be “green” in contemporary culture, the Greenhouse Dress Tent becomes a commentary on the current fashion of being “green.”
The Ice Queen: Glacial Retreat Dress Tent, photographed at Mt. Shasta, California underneath one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, embodies the look of a sexy weather hazard/ emergency worker in her white winter garb. The dress tent is a polar weather station and research lab, offering a space to ponder the earth, global warming, and glaciers. Underneath her skirt, a chorus of crickets vary their tune, in direct relationship to the climatic changes that have occurred across the globe, from the industrial revolution to the present and beyond. Overlaid upon the cricket chirping are weather reports from the locale in which the tent is stationed, as well as a weather reporter adding commentary on the ice queen’s current temperature and state of mind.
Installed beneath the California/Mexico border fence, the monolithic Ms. Homeland Security, dressed in military fatigues while baring her skin, is both militant and quirky. The Illegal Entry Dress Tent is a “gatekeeper”, figuratively and literally. She mimics minutemen vigilantes and patrol guards. Gallery viewers are invited to step inside the dress tent, crossing the border between a public and private space.
The Dress Tent project investigates desire from a female centered perspective and uses seduction as a vehicle to explore the relationship between the body and the land.
Artists’ Robin Lasser + Adrienne Pao began collaborating on the Dress Tent project in 2004. It has appeared as an exhibition (photographs and installations) in the U.S. and abroad in Argentina (’06), China (’07), Brazil and Canada (’09) It has been featured in fashion, lifestyle, and pop culture magazines around the world including Top (Brazil ’09) Dazed and Confused (London ’08), Space (China ‘08), Vision (China ’08), Amica (Bulgaria ’07), Playboy (South America ’06), TOP (Brazil ’06), Flaunt (US ’06), and many others.