In connection with the Ann Arbor Film Festival, students from U-M’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design have created costumes inspired by the short film Quasi at the Quackadero, a widely respected work of animation made in 1975 by artist Sally Cruikshank, who has screened work at the AAFF about a half-dozen times. The students are part of the wearable art class Dressing Up + Down, which leads them to examine the transformative and communicative powers of garments and costumes.
Taught by Professor Rebekah Modrak, the course prompts students to respond to culture, design, fashion, architecture, performance, and aspects of wearable art. The class emphasizes experimentation, the development of personal expression, and discovering technical methods to support these ideas.
In the class, garments and costumes are created from pre-existing garments, turning the ordinary into the unconventional. Students will wear and display their Quasi-inspired costumes in the Michigan Theater before and after the 9:15pm screening of Films in Competition 9: Animation on Friday, March 29. The costumes will also be displayed in the theater following the animation screening for the remainder of the festival.
“We had a lot of fun, and also a great challenge, responding to Cruikshank’s film,” Professor Modrak said. “Since she takes liberties with the physical world, we wanted to do the same and use the garments to defy human anatomy. Each student drew inspiration from different parts of the film: from the main character Anita’s drawl and affectations to the whimsical, oblique architecture and wallpaper and to Cruikshank’s constant renderings of energy shifts with bursting stars and gusts of clouds.
“For us, it’s really important that the objects we make are part of lived experiences,” Modrak added, “and we’re excited to collaborate with the AAFF to try to extend Quasi into the theater foyer on the animation screening night.”
Come get inspired by the creative energy of students from Dressing Up + Down at the 57th Ann Arbor Film Festival. Class members include:
Professor Rebekah Modrak
Adam Van Osdol
El (Elizabeth) Leung