Opera Arm 

Opera Arm 1.1

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Description: The Action Researcher/Performer sewed together long lengths of plastic material (converted from table cloths) as extensions of each of her arms.  This costume was inspired by traditional Chinese Opera, which uses exaggerated and varied coloured sleeves to describe the changes in a characters inner world.  Swinging the sleeves in different directions traditionally communicated varied expressions of personality and identity making up for a shortage of language.  The Action Researcher/Performer walked (with her sleeves attached) in various busy streetscape locations and open-air market places in central Beijing.  As she approached people, the gestures she made changed, reflecting her immediate response to them.  A white mask was worn over her mouth to enforce the fact that she was unable to converse.  The sound of the rustling plastic material moving in different formations alerted the idle pedestrian of her passing-by.

© Astra Howard 2014