Baby Odyssey

Baby Odyssey
Natalie Purschwitz 


“Baby Odyssey” is, as the title suggests, a tiny version of an epic excursion. By dressing in unusual garments the audience is invited to first be transformed, and then be transported to another world for a very brief period of time. Tehran, an important historical sojourn on routes such as the Silk Road and the Hippie Trail, has had a rich relationship with the outside world. There has been a constant exchange between visitor and host, observer and observed, one of both foreign curiosity and of shared likeness.
The costumes make reference to Shahre Farang, an early 20th century Persian viewing device designed to reveal the exotic nature of foreign lands. Roughly translated as “Cities of the West”, the costumes incorporate portals through which audience/performer can see/experience each other, drawing particular attention to the face, hands and the clothing itself which will incorporate both shared and distinct cultural symbols, such as a stained glass window, a 1960s fabric pattern, a mirror or void. These images are meant to focus on an exchange of observations–the wearer’s experience and the audience member’s experience are different but both are being observed, or looked upon, in a new way. It is as though they are witnessing each other’s discovery simultaneously.
In “Baby Odyssey”, the performance, reminiscent of absurdist Dada performances of the early 20th century or Conceptual instruction works, such as those by Yoko Ono from the 1960s, are like distractions from the exchange between performer and audience, allowing for a simple completion of a task rather than a self-conscious performance.