Founded in Berlin in 2014, Gray Box aims to experiment with the interactions and common territories of contemporary dance, visual arts, and fashion: "Black Box", "White Cube", and "Catwalk". Based on interdisciplinary, research based-collaborations, and collective creative process, Gray Box creates and curates site-specific projects questioning sexuality, gender, identity from a feminist and queer perspective. Choreographies, public performances, exhibition works, fashion collections, together with workshops echo the broader socio-political context, and challenge the body as both a historically disciplined, shaped, and colonized archive and a living public/private site, where power is constantly contested and negotiated.
Fashion & Styling
Gray Box melds designing for the performing arts with fashion, defines the catwalk as a theatre stage, and showcases thematic, socially and politically engaged collections as conceptual art. At the intersection of clothing as performance costume and as conceptual fashion, our theory and practice-oriented researches focus on the performative, choreographic, and dramatic potential of fashion shows, together with the performative aspect of wearing clothes. Through questioning the original functions of the items and of the established codes of the fashionable body, Gray Box collections and fashion performances transgress normative discourses, challenge gender boundaries, systems of representation, and standards of beauty. Our collections experiment with silhouettes, constructions, materials, objects, technology, and our fashion-performances avoid linearity, and narrative strategies.
Education & Workshop
Since 2014, Gray Box leads regularly workshops, trainings, experimental JAM sessions, creates interdisciplinary spaces for generating new ideas, forms, and relational aesthetics. Our methodology is inspired by two pioneers in the field of education: the Bauhaus ideology about interdisciplinarity, and by postmodern choreographers working practices, based on collective creativity and movement-based process. Historically, in the frame of the experimental "Stage workshop", the Bauhaus School was the first official artistic institution teaching performance as an individual art form, different from traditional theater and dance practices. Oriented both theory and practice, Oskar Schlemmer's class was based on design, play, instinct, and imaginative use of masks and costumes. The body was the central material to try out new forms of movements, in connection to character, lights, texts, and sounds. On the other hand, in 1968, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin and avant-garde dancer Anna Halprin, conducted the "Experiments in Environment" workshop, devoted to the "ongoingness of collective creativity." The workshop entailed a range of movement, communication, and notation exercises, designed to pursue “ways of learning through exploration and direct experience.” It was also a testing ground for the RSVP Cycles, method for combining Resources, Scores, Valuaction, and Performance as tools for collective creativity. The Gray Box methodology mixes the Bauhaus heritage with American postmodern choreographers creative exercises, and completes it with contemporary performance practices. We use our collection of costumes, masks, accessories in experimental, movement-oriented, improvisation exercises, create solo and group performances, develop critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. Theoretical, practical, and interdisciplinary at the same time, each workshop focus on a particular issue, and new topics can also be created according to the context in which the workshop takes place.