Surely the hippest, most creative, most inspiring fashion in the very fashionable Stockholm is at the fabulous Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair (http://www.shoerepair.se/). If you check out the website and the online store, you will see immediately that this is not a cobbler's shop. At Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, the fanciful couture looks like avatars from some other place that you want to be. It's like some high-fashion avant garde cross between Yojhi Yamamoto and Paul Smith, with a dash of Galliano and a pinch of Rik Owens. And it was here, with a brilliant and beautiful young playwright who is also one of Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair's ten employees, that I had a great conversation about technology and art.
First, fashion. After being dangerously restrained in our fashion purchases on this trip to Sweden (it is not a bargain kind of place), Ken and I returned to Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair and, this time, we succumbed--he to a suit he'd been looking for for several months and me to a fabulous black jacket (because, after all, who doesn't need a 32nd black jacket?). A lovely young woman with long blond hair and enormous grey-blue eyes spent time with us, telling us about how much of the store is hand fashioned, about the couture elements, about the inspirations from the world of dance. We never learned her name but found out she designs their runway shows which are marvelous combinations of art and technology so we began talking about that mix. What better place to discuss technology than a fashion store inspired by British shoemaking handicraft?
This young woman turned out to be a student who was also a budding playwright. Since I got my own writer's chops (long ago!) as a playwright, we began to discuss theater in Sweden and she said something interesting. She was having a discussion with some of her teachers about the craft of narrative and drama. A gamer, she was interested in the conventions of the fifth wall (or is it the fourth?), in linear development, of emplotment, and how all of those change if you are engaged in the theatrical play of games, where the distance between story and player collapse in the playing, where each turn in the plot is your game challenge, where the mechanics of game play and stagecraft are inseparable, and where video and installation and set design are interactive and permeable. Not set.
Of course I gave her a HASTAC card and invited us to join our network and let us know about her upcoming reading of one of her plays at a drama festival. As I think about the dwindling numbers on Broadway, I can only imagine what theater will look like in the next decade. If there is a young Swedish art student, recently a designer of fashion shows, and a gamer, too, up there in lights on Broadway, I won't be surprised.