Dance and Design Converge

Location One hosts three weeks of fabric, creation, video, dance—oh yeah, and a runway show

Put 15 fashion designers in one room for a week with lots of fabric, restricted conditions, video cameras, and the challenge to produce wearable art and what do you get?

No, this isn’t “Project Runway,” but the higher minded “Open Stitch,” a three-week project at Location One. Conceived and organized by Sebastien Sanz de Santamaria in collaboration with Jessie Cohan, artists who also work at the gallery, Open Stitch features a workshop exhibition, an installation, and a dance performance. Sanz de Santamaria, who belongs to the Long Island City arts collective Flux Factory and is a third of the art and apparel cooperative Wikiwikicorp was inspired by the treasure trove of fabric he found at Materials for the Arts, two blocks from his space in LIC.

“Usually, I just grab a roll here and there. I’ve never seen it put to heavy use, Sanz de Santamaria said. “But the thought was always in the back of my head. When

Claire Montgomery asked for ideas to fill an open slot we had, I pitched it.”

“Location One is an art center devoted to convergence—among different art forms and different cultures,” Montgomery said. “We invite artists from different fields to collaborate, to experiment, to try new approaches. By removing the artists from their normal contexts and placing certain restraints on them, we hope to encourage new inspiration. We want to move the emphasis away from product to process. We think this is an unusual chance for visitors to the gallery to see how art happens.”

The idea, said Sanz de Santamaria is for designers to have a constrained time to focus on one activity.

“You rarely have a solid week to do one thing,” he said.

The work sessions, which make up the first seven days of the project (September 7–13), are free and open to the public. The process will be documented and streamed live via video. During week two and thereafter (September 14–30), the gallery space will be left as is, and an installation of the work, as well as video produced, will be on display.

The main force in the selection of the artists, Sanz de Santamaria explained, was the mix that they would bring.

“David [Quinn], Miranti [Kisdarjono], and George [Hudacko] are all serious, independent designers with their own lines; they create their own work,” he said. “Barry [Doss] and Chris [Sanders] do Broadway costume design. Ayah [Bdeir] and Katherine [Moriwaki] are working with technology, programming, coding and wires in garments and fashion. Stefany Anne [Goldberg] works with sound.”

Also participating are Selma Karaca, who opened a store in SoHo, storytelling artist Davina Semo, FIT student Ryan Kennedy, Wikiwikicorp, and Cohan, who works in recycled clothing design and photography.

With such diversity and working under the challenge to create, is there a possibility things could get ugly?

Not very likely, Quinn said.

“There’s nothing really at stake here. It’s not a competition, so you don’t really feel any pressure. It’s forced creativity, a kind of experiment, but it’s sort of a vacation,” Quinn noted. “All I have to do is show up and create.”

Quinn is also designing costumes for Glen Rumsey Dance Project, which will perform over two weekends in September and at the opening of the runway show that wraps everything up on October 1

“Designing for dance can be boring,” Quinn said. “But Glen has a very fashion aesthetic and a specific vision and I’m broadening my own reach. A lot of the costumes are like wearable sculpture, very architectural.

“I’m interested in expanding my reach, and meeting people in the art world,” Quinn added. “This kind of project is really perfect for that.”

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