What is a Selkie? 

The Selkie is a creature of coastal folklore. Half seal, half man, they exist on the transformation line between sea and land, man and beast, and step cleanly between the worlds. The seal-folk protect the coastlines of Scotland and the smatter of islands
between John ‘O Groats and Greenland. They may come ashore when the tides are right and stretch their legs in human form, leaving their silkie skin spread on the rocks. Sometimes though a tired traveller or curious youth finds them self on the edge of a Selkies dance, and like humans are want to do they dream of taking a piece of the magic for them self. Without their skin the Selkie cannot return to the sea, and with it the human may try their luck in the deep. The Selkies Skin is a magic that can be shared but taking by force will be punished. To many families surviving on the edge of the sea, Selkies are family. The souls of the dead lost to the waves and the ancestors who raised human children, collected their skin and returned home. “They’ve gone and joined the seal-folk”, no body to bury, no grave to lay flowers, only moonlit grey faces peering out from the waves.
How do I become one?

The ‘human’ and the ‘seal’ skin are both equally the creature’s skin, connecting in a fundamental way to the symbolic and practical functions of their body. The power of the skin is such that it can also be lent, given, or stolen. The myth of a transmutable shared body asks questions of identity, sensorial ubiquity and the power at the boundary of things. Skin is the final boundary between self and other. This project proposes the creation of costume-led performance through the medium of the Selkie Skin.
The Skin is an object created with narrative and/or sensorial intention to join with the body to create a new whole. The Skin serves to protect, enhance or transform the performance of self through the ritualistic joining of body and object.
The Selkie ritual requires three components: the Skin-object, the Performing Body, and the Voyeur. Shapeless Grey Cloth brings together these components in a series of experiential performances to investigate what is a Selkie and how do I become one?

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