Culture Magazine

Adam Savage on Cosplay [Homo Ludens]

By Bbenzon @bbenzon

Some years ago I watched a bunch of TED talks. And then lost interest. These days I rarely watch any TED talks. But I watched this one because it's by Adam Savage and it's about cosplay.

I've known about cosplay for well over a decade, but have never participated. Adam Savage is a new interest. He devotes an enormous amount of time create costumes for cosplay. It's obviously important to him and rewarding for him? Why?

That's what he explains in this video, which starts with his childhood and ends with him wearing a No-Face costume (from Miyazaki's Spirited Away) to a Comic-Con. He tells that story starting at about 10:16. Pay attention to what he says about playing the character of No-Face and of people's response to it. The thing is, it takes months, if not years, to build the costume, but the cosplay only lasts for minutes, perhaps hours, a couple of times a year. So I'm still wondering: Why? As part of that, what is the relationship between the part one plays while in costume and how one is in real life?

And the Why? isn't just about Adam Savage. It's about the culture of cosplay, and Comic-Cons. What role does that play in our culture? Do we need more of it? If so, why?

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