Dresses on hangers, a mirror on a wooden vanity, one too many pairs of shoes.
It's just another woman's dressing room set up on a traffic island in New York City's Union Square. The woman dressed in the white lace nightgown, slowly grooming herself, is Lián Amaris, assistant professor of drama and dance at Colorado College.
Amaris staged this performance art piece, which she called Fashionably Late for the Relationship, in July 2007. Afterward, her former professor at New York University, director R. Luke DuBois, made it into a film, which will be featured in video installations at CC's I.D.E.A. Space this month.
"I wanted to take these simple gestures of gender maintenance and ask, 'Just what is it that we are doing?'" says Amaris.
She took 72 hours pretending to prepare for a date, only stopping for short bathroom breaks. She even slept on set. Every hour in the boudoir translated into one minute in real time; she took 20 minutes just to put on lipstick.
When DuBois later compressed the film to 72 minutes, he granted Amaris the appearance of moving at normal speed while traffic and her surroundings move in a quick blur.
"The film is a completely different experience than the live performance," says Amaris. "It was done as a response to it. It was like he took some paint and made a painting out of it."
The 28-year-old artist is in her third year of teaching at CC. But locally, she may be more recognizable from Corpus Projecti, her 2007 exhibit at the college. That one allowed viewers, one at a time, to touch illuminated parts of her body to elicit storytelling.
Amaris has two master's degrees from New York University, one in performance studies and the other in interactive telecommunications. Her work often explores feminist issues, gender roles and the perspective-altering media. The idea for Fashionably Late stemmed from a conversation between her and DuBois several years prior regarding how male film directors view a female performer.
"This project was very special because it is so highly aestheticized and will resonate differently with each observer," she says. "It is extreme while still being beautiful and hypnotic."