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An image of myself wearing the cosplay of Alvis I created. The image is a full body shot from behind, with my right arm outstretched, with a green glass background.

Alvis, the Divine Seer

Reyne Lesnau

Alvis, the Divine Seer is the administrative computer that governs the fabric of the universe of the 2010 video game Xenoblade, and the subject for my senior studio project’s deep dive into the artistic canon of cosplay (portmanteau of “costume” and “play”). I began with a series of questions: what is valued in this canon, and why? How does personal meaning manifest in an inherently derivative medium? What does cosplay offer that compels me to pursue it? To investigate these questions, I pored over references to accurately fabricate Alvis’s intricate costume, and prepared a 2 minute performance that ties deeply to the game’s narrative but is enjoyable and understandable to anyone. These two components form the complete work I presented at the Youmacon Masquerade in Detroit. Foucault’s Utopian Body has helped guide me to my conclusions: my body is my “zero point”, and my experience within it is my entire existence. Changing my body changes my world, and allows for “pleasurable immersion” through embodied performance. Cosplay creates a space in which I can push my limits with both creative skill and boundaries of self, through the lens of characters and stories that have helped me become the person I am. Photography by Danielle Caise - Instagram @artisticaise_photography

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