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video creation: a dance theatre – “Ready to Wear” (Dir: J Ioi Chon Lei)


In the seventies and eighties, the garment industry was once the economic mainstay of Macao, many family type, small and medium-sized garment factories scattered in various districts, women have become particularly the main labour force in that industry. Whether at work, or family, women played an important role at the time. It was a special era of female life. A women life power have existed truly, however, it is getting more and more away from us.


|the statement of video creation at the second session |

Title of Work: Depth of Field in Garment Factory
Media : Video installation (three projectors), sound & silent
Duration: 13’50”
Year of Creation: 2017

The work is the videography of the actual operation of a garment factory in one single day. There was not any creative plan at the day of shooting, but various scenes of the factory were recorded by the camera one by one — the crowded and cluttered space, the cold white light aura, the slowing rotating ceiling fans, colorful cloths, mottled wooden rulers, iron cages full of cut pieces, stamped tickets with various sets of numbers, gestures of garment workers, and all the human and machines sounds. Only when these scenes were recorded, there was an idea to incorporate these images into a theatre performance.

The video starts with a dark scene with dog barking, and the scene is then lightened up by blinking white light pipes, marking the start of the working day of garment workers. Following the movement of an iron cage full of cut pieces, the video demonstrates an array of machine and human sounds, while its focus also shifts from the messy environment of the factory to various procedures of sewing clothes through close-ups, slow motion and even still frames. The gestures and movement of different sewers and their equipment in details have been magnified and presented in front of the audience with an appearance of beyond reality.  From the sewing knife, sparks flying out occasionally, cutting piles of thick cloths at ease, to the orderly rhythm between rotation and pause of spools of thread in an overlocker, to the piece of cloth moving smoothly under the needle of a sewing machine, these all represent the skillful handicraft of the workers, accumulated after years of hard work, repetition and rigid routines. The environment sound of the factory starts to fade out after the first minute and half, replaced by the audio of female sewing workers talking about the anecdotes of their careers. These images and voice-over complement with the live actions of spreading and rolling cloth by actors in the theatre performance.

The video is projected panoramically on two layers of translucent white cloths and the entire backdrop of the theatre stage, in stark contrast to the ordinary 2D video presentation, creating a multi-layered video space.


|programme info|
performance date:6, 7, 8/ 05/2017(Sat, Sun and Mon)

venue:ox warehouse
duration:90 mins, no interval

|creation crew|
performance consultant, stage & costume design:Yu O Lam
script:Sandy Leong, J Lei
director:J Lei
actors:Sarbina、Yun Mei、Sin
music creation:Evonne Lei
video creation:Bianca Lei
lighting creation:Arvin Cheng
Visual design:Ck Chiwai Cheang@somethingmoon
organasation & production:Artistry of Wind Box Community Development Association
sponor:Instituto Cultural, Macau Foundation

related links: Macao Daily (in Chinese)