ECSTATIC SPACES By Tara Keens Douglas

Trinidadian architect Tara Keens Douglas presented a series of carnival costumes made from folded paper as part of her 2010 Master of Architecture thesis at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. The focus in her thesis, entitled Ecstatic Spaces, studied the relationship of Trinadad’s carnival festival to personal architecture and spaces. The costumes are referred to as four operations of appropriation, exaggeration, submersion and sublimation. They are grotesque, making extreme exaggerations and unfathomable representations of the body, violating its idealized, classical image. They portray the carnival body in the act of becoming, taking inspiration from earthy worldliness, while also giving out to it. Intricately folded and shaped into avant-garde forms, “The costumes are an ephemeral architecture–fragile and mobile. They are, in a way, architecture of the persona,” according to the designer. “They temporally distort the true nature of the body. The chaos of parade, music, and dance fuses the body with the costume, transforming the individual, freeing him from inhibitions. The fusion of body and Carnival costume tells the untold story of the masquerader. The architecture of costume serves its wearers. Its significance lies in its affirmation of identity, while accommodating an emotional and sensuous experience.”