Using 3D modelling, Siba Sahabi translates dance into design with a series of five abstract sculptures based on oriental dance costumes in motion.
“Tarab describes the emotional effect of oriental music on performers and the audience.” says Sahabi. This feeling formed the main inspiration for Sahabi’s new work. After designing a dance costume, she then captured five different forms of the costume in motion and transformed them into sculptures.
“East and West have impacted each other greatly regarding the development of oriental dance costumes. For instance, the couturier Poiret invented the famous harem pants in France in 1913. The Egyptian dancer Badia Mansabny introduced the stereotypical belly-dancing costume (bikini top combined with a long open skirt) in the 1930’s in Cairo, taking her inspiration from Hollywood films and European cabaret.”
For Tarab, Sahabi designed a dance costume adapted from the traditional Moroccan dress, known as a robe magique or magic robe. The long, traditional, sleeveless dress consists of two layers – in this way, a woman can wear the top layer in different ways. Based on this dress, contemporary choreographer Iván Pérez Aviles developed a dance for oriental dancer Sara Toscano. Machinefabriek composed a song especially for the dance.
Five moments of the choreography were then photographed and the still forms were interpreted into sculptures using 3D modelling. The result is five blue translucent sculptures that evoke movement. Each sculpture measures up to 70cm high, and is composed of up to 250 discs laser-cut from 3 mm-thick acrylic, joined with coloured resin.
A specially-commissioned film is screened alongside the exhibition of light sculptures. The short film, entitled ‘Qaina’, features a dancer dressed in the robe magique sliding into a dreamy reality. The short film is dedicated to the historical female dancers who were known as Qainas. They worked as highly-educated slaves in the courts of the Ottoman Empire and played an important role in developing oriental dance throughout the centuries.
Tarab (the light sculptures) and ‘Qaina’ (the short film) are being exhibited during SALON/Big Bang in the Oude Kerk, Oudekerksplein 23, Amsterdam from June 27 to August 28, 2014.