Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dressed Pt.1: Body Cartography by Azmara Asefa

This past Friday my sister, Brittney, and I attended the launch of Dressed, the new multi-media concept fashion series by Azmara Asefa. Azmara is a local Columbus designer and alumna of the Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) program that my sister is currently in at the University of Cincinnati. Part 1 of Dressed is Body Cartography and the concept launch was held at The Garden Theater this past Saturday.

I met with Azmara early last week to learn more about Dressed and to be interviewed as part of the social media promotion of the event. Azmara asked me about my blog, my thoughts on Columbus being named as one of the most fashionable and smartest cities and to guess what materials were used to create the piece being exhibited at the launch. I had the following clues to help me: it locks, it hinges, is sharp, fragile, has a spine and is made of 174 pieces. I focused on the spine clue and guessed book and skeleton. I was way off - which only made me more curious! Throughout the week, other bloggers and local Columbus fashion celebrities had a chance to guess what the piece would be. Some were correct, but the rest of us had to wait until the launch to find out!

The star of Dressed Pt.1: Body Cartography was an amazingly detailed plexi-glass corset (with a spine!)! All of the clues made sense once we saw the piece. Brittney and I checked out the corset and photos of the lovely Tabby Rae (she has some amazing tattoos!) who modeled the piece. Speaking of tattoos, the concept behind this part of the series, Body Cartography, looks at the physicality of the body and gives a single body a specific set of coordinates. Brittney had to help me a bit with this idea (it's really helpful (and fun!) to have an architect accompany you to art events), but basically tattoos are analogous to symbols and markings on a map. If a tattoo is on the collarbone, space on the body can be located or referred to as above or below the tattoo, rather than the collarbone. Another reference to maps in the show that night were the corset itself and the grid lines in the tweed skirt worn by Tabby Rae and the lovely tweed dress worn by Azmara.

The remnants on the table are the pieces of plexi-glass left behind after the pieces used in the corset were removed. The remnants look at lot like the noli maps (far right column of the above collage) which are birds eye views of buildings and open spaces.

Check out this video from Azmara for a much better explanation of Body Cartography and some behind the scenes look at the photography shoot!

I'm very excited to see the next parts of the series which together will explore different topics related to body and identity theories. It makes me think of my Women's & Gender Studies courses at Ohio University

The stars of the evening: the plexi-glass corset, the artist Azmara Asefa who posed with me, and model Tabby Rae. 

Azmara is trying to get the word out about Dressed to make the next part of the series even bigger and better, go to her Kickstarter campaign if you would like to make a contribution! Check out her website for more about her amazing work. 

Please share photos of the plexi-glass corset (and this post) on social media. Azmara would love to see Beyonce wear her creation! Use the hashtag #614DressedBeyonce and mention @azmaraasefa and @beyonce and when sharing. If Beyonce wears the corset, your social media share will enter you a chance to win a custom piece from Azmara!