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Backstage Video: ASMR at the Victoria & Albert Museum Conserving a Clown Costume

Stage Directions • Theatre Buzz • January 13, 2021

Follow Senior Textile Conservator Susana Fajardo at the Victoria & Albert Museum as she works on a sequined clown costume worn by 20th-century clown Jackie Sloan. Sound designer and performance-maker Julie Rose Bower has documented Susana’s steps using ambisonic sound, letting you get closer to the object than ever before. See the painstakingly delicate processes involved as dust is carefully removed, corrosion is reduced, and sequins are gently cleaned.

// Listen with headphones for best experience //

The Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection of Theatre & Performance objects includes props and costumes from many iconic moments in the history of theater, circus, dance, drama, film, opera, pantomime, popular music – and much more. Often these objects played their part in a spectacular visual and auditory experience, but now – when they’re displayed in our galleries behind glass – they are normally silent. In this video from the V&A they use the technique of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, also known as ASMR. The term refers to physical sensations of euphoria or calm in response to visual, sensory, and auditory stimulus.

Museum vacuum and soft brush removing dust: 00:36
Abrasive rubber reducing corrosion on metal hook: 02:20
Sequin cleaning with swabs: 04:02

Take a look at more costumes in the V&As Theatre and Performance collection:



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