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4/18/12: Sets and Costumes | Eiko + Koma
4/18/12: Sets and Costumes

4/18/12: Sets and Costumes

At the beginning of the archive inventory project, I suggested that we include Eiko & Koma's sets and costumes in the inventory. With few exceptions,  Eiko & Koma create all their own sets, props, and costumes, often from easily accessible materials. These items are not only documents of Eiko & Koma's aesthetics, but are also crucial elements in the creation of the environments in and with which their dancing takes place.

The problem with archiving costumes and sets, however is how and where to store them in the short term, and who will take them into their archives in the long term. Ideally, the sets and costumes should stored in a temperature-controlled environment, in containers that provide physical protecion, support and some control over PH level. But storage is expensive in the New York City region, even across the river in New Jersey where Koma has an outdoor storage space for their caravan and an indoor one for costumes, sets, and miscellaneous supplies. Funders don't usually take into account this kind of expense when they support performing artists, and many archives only want to acquire paper and moving image materials.

Over the years, some of Eiko & Koma's items have rotted and had to be thrown away, like the iconic buffalo head from Land. Other items have been discarded simply because of the lack of space. When we went to New Jersey with Koma to see his current storage spaces, Patsy and I were impressed with Koma's ingenuity, and finally understood his hesitance for us to purchase archival storage boxes. How could they fit? In the end, we ordered boxes only for the costumes that Eiko & Koma have been displaying in their exhibitions, and chose sizes that could fit in Koma's shelving. Hopefully this will work as a short-term fix until funding can be secured for a larger storage space.

-Rosemary Candelario