Silver Ghosts— anonymous meetings to leave your prejudice behind

The concept

I created some costumes for a party. I’m interested in the identities we portray with our clothing, our hair, our voices and body language. In particular the way these things can either make us feel more comfortable or inhibit us in social situations.

I once worked as an extra for a period film set in the 1940s. As I sat in the waiting room I looked around for someone interesting I talk to. It was a real challenge. Everyone had had their hair cut and make up done and was wearing their assigned costume. Until I actually went and talked to someone it was impossible to assign any characteristics to them. It was much more anonymising than say a fancy dress party, because the people involved had no choice in their costume. Basically, I didn’t know who was a cunt and who wasn’t. Every trace of personality had been washed away.

I considered that to be at a party without identity might be freeing. So my costumes were basically a big silver sheet designed to hide form (made from reflective silver fabric with an orange tulle section as a visor). Also part of the costume was a voice changing box to mask what the wearer sounded like. This was a cheap kids’ toy off ebay gaffer taped to a coat hanger as a frame.

The experience


Frustratingly, once they took their costumes off they got along quite well. I asked a few leading questions to get them to say how freeing the experience was on camera, but mostly they just complained about the heat.