Sui Generis

Sui Generis: ‘In a class of its own, not like anything else, unique’.

Performance and sculptural costume installation, dance, choreography and moving image

Materials | body, PVC fabric, lycra, chains, steel hooks, chalk, HD film & sound

Sound collaboration: Yosuke Fujita, voice & sound (2013)

photo credit: Sasha Drozd, K. Fujiwara, Galia Yotova, D. Seeker

Each costume sculpture is constructed as a circle of weather-proof fabric with a long tube of lycra at the centre. They hang above the ground from butcher’s hooks attached to long metal chains; the circumference of each costume is marked out on the floor. When the dancers activate them, the costumes become a landscape of morphing forms. Like watching shapes appear in clouds, the transformations shift from human to animal to unknown entities. When flesh momentarily appears, it has become uncanny, nonhuman.

sui generis means ‘unique’ ‘in a class of its own’. This work subverts the taxonomical systems of scientific classification, by presenting the possibility of an entity than can continuously change. The circle form is a reference to the Vitruvius Man of science and the ‘human’ body it prioritizes and contains within its perfect mathematical contours. But Sui Generis is also a resistance and subversion of all ideologies and social structures that tend to name in order to divide or manipulate.

Sui Generis conjures the strangeness of the uniquely unnameable, what the systems attempt to exclude because it defies explanation. Re-imagining the shape-shifting quality of spiritual and ritual practices, the costumes become magical: by concealing the entire shape of the body, they reveal the hybridity of human and nonhuman forces, and the thin veneer between the realms of the sublime and the abyss of the abject.


Wild Kind, Art Research Event, Goldsmiths University, London 2018; P-Bodies Festival of Contemporary Performance, Leipzig 2017; Emergency MCR 2016, commissioned by Word of Warning Water Tower Art Festival, Bulgaria 2016; Funkhaus, Berlin 2016; Tatwerk, Berlin 2014; Noguchi Room ‘Shin Banraisha‘, commissioned by Hijikata Archive, Keio University, Japan 2013

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