HOME Press for HOME 'Jeanette Sendler' in Gothic Script
all photography & copyright: Joanna Kane .

St. Brides Arts Centre, Edinburgh, June 2000

When Jeanette came to Edinburgh she met Anna Cocciadiffero. Between then they formed 'Metacorpus'.
actress arms raised in latex / wire suit
Man in suspended cage bathed in blue light

They put on two extraordinary shows of the weird & wonderful where the costumes themselves were the focus of the show.

'Sound and Suspension'

review: The Scotsman, June 2000
"Shuffling into a darkened space, audience members take their place around what appears to be the stage, where a performer encased in a wire-strung shell jerks and shimmies with staccato glee against the whirr of rotating springs and the rhythmic burr of concave silver sheets hung in a minimalist industrial backdrop.
Suddenly noise and lights click into action from behind as a puppet-like figure entangled in a web of wires contorts and agitates.
b/w image man clutching breast

Welcome to the world of Metacorpus, where the barriers between audience and performer are broken down in a highly original piece of performance art.

Others watch the atonal balloon-scraping squall of two silver-clad performers pushing discs along wires. All heads turn for the figure who appears suspended on the high rope, silken tubes draping from her body like a ballgown train and swaying as she improvises bends of the body.

b/w image. Woman in bird costume

Following up their acclaimed Animated Body Appendages, the innovative interactive approach of Metacorpus, founders Jeanette Sendler, Anna Cocciadiffero and Chloe Dear in Sound and Suspension has all the playful elements of a psychedelic 1960s happening, but brought up-to-date with a mix of stimulating physical theatre, fantastical visuals and ambient sound collages.


b/w image. Woman in spiky headress

Costumes continue to play an integral rather than simply decorous role, providing the leaping-off point for a look at the outside world through the perceptions of the unborn.

In the first part, the attractions in various parts of the room build into a pulsating alternative take on the scientific workings of the inner ear. An audience member becomes entwined in the twisting butterfly cochlea shell.

4 woman 'foeteses'  curled up on floor & bathed in red light

The second half offers a Zen-like contrast; we sit like a kindergarten class around a womb-like carpet and watch the awakening of four foetuses curled up like new-born pups in the centre of a woolen spiral of intestines.

Woman arms raise with thick felt bathed in red light
Sendler’s contribution to “Sound and Suspension”, a collaboration with Metacorpus, was a series of performances entitled “Human Fetal Hearing.” The uterine-like shapes fashioned from felt create an interior world that is intended to evoke any fetal memories the viewer may hold with them. A second concern of the project and part of the audio component of the performance was a representation of fetal hearing and the possible impact fetal hearing may have on an individual’s communication skills later in life.
Review above: Jessica Hemming
Published in Selvedge textile magazine issue no 03 Sept /Oct 2004
woman obscured by thick white felt blocks woman obscured by thick white felt blocks Bathed in lights and stirring gradually to Neil McArthur´s soothing ambient soundtrack, their immediate surroundings are explored with quivering movements, Nicola Dahlinger´s choreography entrancing with the slightest of shifts against heartbeat accompaniment as they flex, stretch apart and return together.







Bewitching, intoxicatingly fresh, Metacorpus make sense of the desire to return to the womb."

The Scotsman, June 2000

below: 'Mothers'

Collection of felt balls on wooden floor

All costumes shown by Jeanette

2 women obscured by thick white felt blocks
b/w image. Woman in spiky headress


review: The Herald, June 2000

"Something lies at the heart - and soul - of what Metacorpus does that is hard to condense into words. In part, it´s a kind of unspoiled curiosity, our willingness to be caught up in the wonderment of being alive. If these seem very innocent, childlike qualities then you should know that the work produced by costume artists Anna Cocciadiffero and Jeanette Sendler is both intricate and sophisticated in concept and realisation.

Woman in spiky headress  
Man spread eagled looking up

Each of them provides a highly individual performance under the umbrella title Sound and Suspension. Inverted Labyrinth sees Cocciadiffero delve into the hidden anatomical depths of the ear to find the structures that will inform her designs, all ready to resonate and quiver at the slightest sound.

Woman in bird costume by river  in winter

She´s then translated these into costume "responses", surreal garments that evoke the very process of hearing. Background machinerries wheeze, rasp, grate, and screech and the bodies inside the costumes react.

  Back of woman in bird costume by river  in winter
Sendler´s Foetal Hearing is an inner journey of a different kind. Neil MacArthur´s score ranges from lulling serenity to sudden, abrasive clatter, with an underlying reassurance of sonorous pulsing. This is the landscape of the womb where four figures gradually rise into a Buthohesque dance, as if the sounds encouraged them to move their limbs. There´s an eerie, underwater feel and a sense of protected calm. These are haunting images, plangent with symbolism and spirituality."
Woman in bird costume in river  in winter

The Herald, June 2000


White latex & silk fabric hung from Yew tree in autumn


Right: An exhibition of the some work at Edinburgh College of Art Sculpture Court. This work was part of Jeanette's Masters show.

Left: Outdoor installation Warriston Cemetery





Arial shot of exhibition space
Costume: Jeanette Sendler
Choreographie: Nicola Dahlinger
Performers, Leni Christmas, Dawn Hartley, Evelyn Holmes-Smith, Geraldine Morey
Sound: Neil McArthur
Producer: Chloe Dear

Fetal Hearing was part of the performance Sound and Suspension from Metacorpus, funded by the Scottish Arts Council
Woman in strange costume Woman in strange water soluble  costume with water pipe attached    

Water dissolvable costume:

Two of Anna Cocciadiffero's costumes for the show.

Animated Body Appendages
Artist Metacorpus
Details: Venue: The Arches, Glasgow

"Probing the boundaries between theater, dance and installation art, Metacorpus propels you into a paralysing landscape. Peepshows, sensory armour and bird birthing cages invade audience parameters with an addictive fusion of sound. Dissolved, magnified and pneumatic, ten performers assault the senses in Metacorpus' exploration of costume art"

Funct 98, Event Guide

This is a fashion show - the work of two designers put on show for the public. But the work is not tacked to mannequins for sedate perusal. Rather they clothe performers. Here we have costume artists, creating conceptual pieces to be worm by performers. But this is not theater safely confined to a stage. This is a crossover exploratory dance confrontation buried in a tunnel beneath a railway bridge. Knowing all this, I expect a strange night- I would not be interested otherwise, and a strange night is what is delivered.

The venue is The Arches; known for theatre presentations and clubs, it is a unique venue for entertainment. The first arch is the bar, in which the audience waits before the performance. Once ready we are led through a wider, bare tunnel into a third arch. The arch is long and relatively narrow, though claustraphobicly so. It is fairly bare with a couple of installation art pieces scattered along its length. The audience has enough time to examine these before the trip has started.

The concepts involved are twofold - one is the body and the other is "transmigration" of body. There are ten performers, five for each of the costume designers and the work they are presenting. Anna Cocciadiferro's works relate to the body and the symbolism its organs attain. The first of the performers is called "Dissolvable" and relates to the last breath - attached to a makeshift drip (plastic tubing, and filters) she rotates around the point - flurries of motion define a struggle to catch the last essence of life from the fluids supplied - collapse, and the performer is subdued suspended from the floor only by the stability of the stand. As these movements die out the second performer is led out behind where the audience is standing - she is "hair" - proud and vulnerable - blindfolded she is left within a circle tarpaulened off from the rest of the world - blindfolded and bound in delicate cloths she is vulnerable, the demeanor of a baby bird - exploring the boundaries confirms confinement - leads to frustration (lashing out) and despair (hunched and shaking). The other costumes play off each other in a choreographed performance. Tooth, Optical, and Vein - each with precise detail and stunning construction. Tooth, a victorian lady in her underwear - a frame that a ballgown would go over - representing protection - mounted at intervals around each circumference of the frame are teeth. Vein, is silk fragility, embroidered with butterflies signifying the fleeting nature of beauty. Optical, a deconstruction of the eye - wires and contraptions - organic flower stems or pneumatic pistons - peering and curious - confronting the audience, walking through and around - stopping to touch and be touched.

While the work of Jeanette Sendler represents the transformation of a human into a bird and back. A transformation, a migration, a metaphor for an attempt to understand identity. The choreography sends the performers through a series of rituals, each representing stages of the transformation. The performers wear white body paint over which they have a range of latex/feathered clothes - loin clothes, shrouds, face masks and crowns. We start with the first stage in a bird cage - wire mesh and a bar for perching. Enclosing this is a disturbing series of "skins", representing the shedding of the outer human. These skins are latex faces attached to long white robes - incrementally the face peels and falls revealing the skull behind, the face resting on the chest withers and dies. Leaping from a side tunnel we have spring - full of life and new born, dancing with joy for all to see - flying towards the encircling audience till they make way. This stage leads the caged stage from the cage to a stone circle . Results in the ritual of protection (surround you with stone to make you safe) and burial (a cairn to that which has gone before). This is followed by a series of confrontations as the bird transforms further to bird and then back to human. Which includes the release from the nest - stripping down and leaving the feathery spine behind (the core of the bird) and rolling around the floor with the pain and ecstasy of return.

Each of the performances here goes on together, with each designer having her own composer - Neil MacArthur (Sendler) and swab(Cocciadiferro). The sound through the evening is seamless and along with the calculated lighting effects leads the audience. We wander around the tunnel from one end to another, guided by the fading speakers giving way to blare, and dimming lights to glow. Through the night we are manipulated and confronted - unsure of where we will go next and how far the performers will push us.

August 1998

Newburgh Textile Centre of Excellence

Textile Centre of Excellence
3 Clinton Street
Newburgh, Fife

Scotland KY14 6DP

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