After shooting the White Angel I wanted to make more white costumes using geometric shapes, there was something powerful about them, I really liked how they worked with the organic curves of the human body. I made a small headpiece (below, middle) and planned to make another so along side the original white angel there’d be a trio of white geometric headed Angels.
But after seeing the picture of me sticking my arms out (for reasons I cant remember) while doing a test shot I got inspired to draw some lines from the head piece to my fingertips on Photoshop. Because I cant see through any of the headpieces and all my costumes are made specifically for me I have to get pictures taken almost every step of construction to make sure it’s working. After drawing the lines on the computer I coloured the shape in red. Then I legged it to Radical Rubber (fortunately I can get there and back home in just over an hour) and bought a roll of red latex, I’d never used red before but it just seamed to fit perfectly with the shape. I was also looking at my Return of the Jedi picture book at the time and was loving the red Emperors Royal Guards (I’ve always loved those costumes).
I had no idea what the effect would be like but I wanted to have another go at making a vacuum costume. The Manta Angel wasn’t really working (it still needs more developing) but I thought I could make something using vacuumed latex that I’d never seen anywhere else before. Since I liked the ridged shapes next to the organic human form I though it you put them both inside the vacuum something magic might happen!
So I made a cat suit and a separate latex ‘sack’ to go around my waist and cover the frame. The headpiece was made from scrap M.D.F. and the frame made from decorative dado rail from the rubbish pile. I wanted sharp edges but had to compromise and sand them all down a bit so not to rip the latex.
With a breathing tube going to the outside and the vacuum cleaner attached we did a test. But the vacuum cleaner was way too powerful, as soon as it sucked all the air out my head felt like it was going to implode and the frame pushed so hard on my ribs I though they were going to break. A really unpleasant experience!!! Tried all sorts so make the vacuum cleaner a little less powerful but didn’t really work, and also I didn’t want to have to cart it around and worry about getting electricity for shoots/performances out on location. So I attached a rechargeable dust buster to the back and walked around doing a test. The battery didn’t last very long and also it wasn’t powerful enough so suck the latex tight! Aghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
Was getting very frustrated, felt like I was so close yet so bloody far. After yet another unsatisfactory test in an act of desperation I decided to try something Tom (an electronic genius) told me that I thought would never work. He said you can inflate or create latex vacuums just by using your own breathing. Inhaling through your nose to suck the air out and exhaling through your mouth through a tube to the outside. Well, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it but it worked sooo well. It meant I didn’t have to carry a vacuum cleaner of any kind and also meant it was quite a bit safer too. Its quite hard work to make the vacuum so if you got into any difficulty the air would rush back in. It made the costume feel like a living thing too, I love the fact it’s powered by the human body! It’s been out into the world a number times on shoots and performances (see previous posts) and I’m in the process of making more of them for a show.