Shift

Teresa Lourie
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Shift is a wearable designed for Leslie Taub, a performer for Heidi Latsky Dance company, to express the way her past of body modification has shaped how she sees herself.

Shift is a piece made to be worn in the sculpture court performance On Display, a sculpture-court-style art piece that features dancers with and without disabilities, with the goal of resetting aesthetic values, and letting viewers become familiar with vastly different bodies through visual exploration. The piece designed for Leslie Taub, a model and dancer who has burns on 70% of her skin, and fingers that have each been amputated at the PIP joint. The piece consists of a series of cuffs fitted to various parts of the body with flowing translucent fabric between them. 

Between the ages of 2 and 14, some of the most formative years of any person's life, Leslie had 68 surgeries on her hands and face. Because of this, her self image isn't as static as the average person's, but instead is based on constant revision. To model this self-construction, the cuffs on Leslie's body can be moved from body part to body part, changing the composition of the piece. The translucence of the fabric and the way it layers and obscures speaks to the blurriness and lack of clarity of Leslie's idea of her own face. The cuffs are made of laser-cut milky acrylic that has been formed to fit the body using a heat gun. Small slits in the cuffs allow the fabric to "weave" into them, giving a smooth transition from the hardness of the acrylic to the soft flow of the fabric. The fabric itself has thin seams sewn along the length to give structure.

When Leslie wears the piece as she performs, she "revises" the way the piece is worn and takes control of her immediate physical self.