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Radiator and Digital Cultures Symposium on Performance, Dance, and Technology Art

Participants' Abstracts

Friday - December 2, 2005

Panel 1 City Performance – Performance in the Wild –Site Specificity –Audience Interaction

Matt Adamas (Blast Theory)

DAY OF THE FIGURINES
Day Of The Figurines is part board game, part secret society.
Day Of The Figurines is set in a fictional town that is littered, dark and underpinned with steady decay. The game unfolds over a total of 24 days, each day representing an hour in the life of the town that shifts from the mundane to the cataclysmic: the local vicar opens a summer fete, Scandinavian metallists play a gig at the Locarno that goes horribly wrong and a gunship of arabic troops appears on the High Street. How players respond to these events and to each other creates and sustains a community during the course of a single day in the town. From the Gasometer to Product Barn, the Canal to the Rat Research Institute, up to 1,000 players roam the streets, defining themselves through their interactions.
Day Of The Figurines continues Blast Theory's enquiry into the nature of public participation within artworks and within electronic spaces (here, through SMS). It uses emergent behaviour and social dynamics as a means of structuring a live event. It invites players to establish their own codes of behaviour and morality within a parallel world. It plays on the tension between the intimacy and anonymity of text messages, building on previous projects such as Uncle Roy All Around You, I Like Frank and the award-winning Can You See Me Now?
Day Of The Figurines has been developed in collaboration with the Mixed Reality Lab at University of Nottingham, Sony Net Services and the Fraunhofer Institute as part of the European research project IPperG (Integrated Project on Pervasive Gaming).

Stefan Kaegi (Rimini Protokoll)

CALL CUTTA
Project to be presented with materials from a film on the project by indian filmdirector Anjun Dutt
"CALL CUTTA" happened in spring 2005 in and between Calcutta and Berlin. The play starts in Berlin the moment your cell phone is ringing.
You walk through the city , the show is at the phone. A voice comes closer. The voice of the Indian call-center-operator on the other side of the line. The two of you are transcontinental partners for the next sixty minutes. He has your map and your data. You head off as a spectator, but you might become the user, the agent, the hero of your personal set in the city. .

Stage 2 of CALL CUTTA (www.call-cutta.in) is planned for different cities in 2006.

Michelle Teran (Toronto)

Life: a user's manual

Talk about the work.

http://www.ubermatic.org/misha

Simon Will (Gob Squad)

Gob Squad is a group of English and German artists who have been working collectively with performance, media and new technology since 1994. Their work is characterised by a desire to place Romantic beauty into the mundane by inserting home made magic and spectacle into everyday life. Audiences and public are often invited to participate in these interventions, taking the ritual of play very seriously. Their work can be seen as an exploration of fantasy and desire in relation to contemporary urban existence. As well as producing work for radio, internet, galleries and theatre, the group have used offices, houses, shops, hotels and railway stations as starting points to generate images and concepts. In the last few years the use of video cameras have increasingly mediated their interventions. Simon Will studied contemporary arts at Nottingham Trent University. He was programmer and organiser of Expo from 1996 to 2000 as well as co-ordinator for NOTT dance and Body Space Image. He has been a member of Gob Squad since 1999. "Each of us just one in a million, easy to replace and easy to forget in a city does not really need us. But don't worry, we're going to change all that. We've got a plan. This city will need us and this film will be our witness." Simon will talk about the creation of Super Night Shot which was shown at The Nottingham Playhouse earlier this year. Using Camcorders four performers embark on a mission to save the city from loneliness and alienation. Shot in the hour before the audience arrive the piece is an example of re framing of reality and live-ness.

Chair: Sophie Lycouris (Nottingham Trent University)

Panel 2

The local and the global: Movement, Digitalization, Transmission

Margarita Bali (Buenos Aires)

A sample of my latest choreographic and installation work relating to video and interactive technologies created in Buenos Aires. The technologies employed and readapted and the roll played by the Argentine musical and technical collaborating team. ZOOM IN LOOK OUT as an example of work co-produced with USA and how the extended collaboration process influenced its final content. PIZZURNO PIXELADO, a huge cityscape video installation-live performance. Fragments of the real outdoor event will be illustrated. PAREDES DE BUENOS AIRES, an interactive installation piece as work in progress. Art and Technology funding in Argentina. High points and low points.


http://www.pacc.ufrj.br/literatura/emcena_perf_pizzurno_pixelado.php

Sher Doruff (Waag Society, Amsterdam)

Transducing Interplay: the distributed diagram

A transductive, intuitive approach to translocal performance practice redistributes the question of local and global movement to virtual/ actual, temporal/spatial intensive/extensive relations and their affect. It's a polyrhythmic, diagrammatic process.

Sally Jane Norman (Culture Lab Newscastle)

OUTER (0) AND INNER (1) SPACES (0,1,0,1…)

"Mine is no callous shell, I have instant conductors all over me whether I pass or stop, They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me." Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, 1855

Have we discarded our "callous shell" to become a living interface seamlessly continuous with its surroundings? Perhaps this dream is fulfilled by sensors that link previously discrete inner psycho-physiological and outer environmental spaces, revealing our every impulse for the world to perceive. Yet hyper-connected existence is riddled with questions of individual and collective identity: while planetary webs weave complex cultural fabrics, outer space is breeding a generic race of cosmic humans.

Thecla Schiphorst (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver)

whispering our gestures :: moving from inside our skin, breath and clothing

Thecla Schiphorst explores the design of wearable interfaces from the perspective of performance practice: creative methodologies used in dance, theatre and somatics. The whispers research group (http://whisper.iat.sfu.ca) is exploring the design of wearable body architectures (clothing, interfaces, fashion and movement) using hybrid methodologies from performance, interaction design, and engineering.

We work with the moving body to illicit its tacit, experiential and first-person phenomenological knowledge as keys to interaction, connection, and choices of textiles and ‘tactiles’. Clothing is expressive in what if reveals and well as what it conceals. ‘Erotisism’, Roland Barthes suggests, is located between the sleeve and the glove, but the chosen interval is of little importance. In our on-going exploration and design of garments embedded with wearable technologies, we explore the notion of intimacy that can be accessed and revealed through our own physiological data, for example, the sharing of breath, and through the act of touch or caress as interface to our own skin and the skin of our clothing. Garments are created as sensuous textured skirts, breast-bands and sleeves made of silks, and organza, natural fibers in earthy and vibrant tones. These parts of our clothing speak to each other, so that we can speak to ourselves. “Clothing is like a language’s lining [and] language and clothing are intimate technologies indeed.”

Chair: Keiko Courdy (Paris/Kyoto)

Panel 3

Overcoming Distance Remote Connections – Network as stage - Telematic Techniques in Performance - Streaming media - New wireless initiatives

Heath Bunting (Bristol)
Adam Hyde (Radioqualia)
Rachel Jacobs (Active Ingredient, Nottingham)

John Mitchell (Arizona State University)

Dance and Telematics

Koala Yip (Hong Kong) & Kelly Gottesman (Detroit)

Dancing across Media Spaces

 

Hellen Sky (Company in Space, Melbourne)
Chair: Sue Thomas (deMontfort University)

Panel 4

Capturing Dance - Dance Software-culture - Dance and Science: Visualization Technology, Wearable and Pervasive Computing in Dance and Interactive Design

Simon Biggs/Sue Hawksley (Sheffield Hallam University/Northern School of Contemporary Dance)

bodytext

Developing out of previous collaborations involving dance performance and interactive visual art Sue Hawksley and Simon Biggs are engaged in a longer term project developing a range of specific authoring systems for use in performance and interactive installation works.

Previous works such as Halo - Biggs (vis.), Rubidge (chor.), Jones (mus.), Hawksley (perf.); Waiting Room - Biggs (vis.), Hawksley (chor./perf.), Jones (mus.); Parallax - Biggs (vis.), Hawksley (chor.) and I am I was (a dying swan) - Biggs (vis.), Hawksley (chor./perf.) have explored the integration of contemporary dance and movement with interactive digital systems.

Hawksley and Biggs are now involved in developing a software system which functions as a more general authoring environment for the creation of dance and movement based works incorporating interactive systems and, for these artists for the first time, existing motion capture systems. The overall title for this work is .

This work engages with the artists' ongoing exploration of identity and memory; how memories are embodied/signified, how they define a sense of self and pattern movement behaviour. Equally, the work addresses the way recording media is used to preserve the sense of self as memories fracture, multiply, collide, divide and mutate.

The working process, and the work that eventuates from it, explores the relationship between memory and the body, approaching this as an archaeological site, a living (non-linear and modifiable) history, using a memory mapping process reminiscent of the ancient Greek technique of Mnemonics; co-locating images and movement as a dynamic code. The visual material used includes imagery of the body (including that generating motion data) and other visual representations of self (e.g. biometric data, digital codings and surveillance systems). The arbitrary nature of how these codes function to signify self are problematised in the work.

The system allows for the importation of recorded motion capture data and visual material into an integrated software environment and for these two data sets to be mapped onto one another. How the two data sets are mapped is user defined and is achieved using an interactive and intuitive interface. Visual imagery from any source can be mapped onto motion capture data, previewed, remapped, stored and interfaced to other systems. Research is underway to extend the system's capability to include moving image data and live motion capture data, allowing the real-time mapping of live or recorded video material to live motion captured movement.

Ghislaine Boddington & Armand Terruli (Future Physical, London)

bodydataspace

b>d>s bodydataspace is a new design unit that delivers artist-led projects into architectural applications and uses interactive technologies to enable people to learn, develop and extend within intelligent data spaces, ultimately enabling the public to have a direct impact on the content of the space they inhabit.

b>d>s creates immersion environments, responsive spaces, events, action landscapes and media world blends . It develops both temporary and permanent environments, creates the most relevant content, consults on the best materials and display technologies, and ensures the public pathways into the interactive action are fulfilled.

b>d>s focuses particularly on body-centric interactive design within architectural and cultural contexts. The unit works with its clients to co-conceive interactive concepts and to place responsive technologies and artistic content at the core of new buildings.

b>d>s has a compelling and logical view that places the ‘body’ of the public at the centre of interactive and spatial design. This view, combined with a strong background in computers, new media, exhibition, graphic, display, live event, performing arts and architecture areas, means b>d>s brings a broad range of relevant skills and knowledge to clients interactive projects.

Firmly based in cultural aims within commercial practice b>d>s uses the extensive specialist knowledge of each founder, as well as in the networks to which each are connected, to bring innovative interactive technology to a broader public marketplace.

Thomas Dumke (Festspielhaus Hellerau)

Image controlled sound nanospheres by DS-X.org in co-operation with Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics Dresden
Image -controlled sound nanospheres is a project for viewing and manipulating the atomic world - exploring the nano-world. The patches programmed by DS-X.org allow a new combination of the
original material of the MPI CBG in form of a new audio-visual composition. Thus, MPI CBG provides unique material for the creation of new sound and image spheres which bring a layer closer to us which also concerns our body.

http://ds-x.org

Christopher L. Salter (Hexagram, Montreal)

Media Research/Creation for the Performing Arts outside of the Performing Arts: Two Case Studies

Increasingly, modes of technologically driven "research/creation" potentially leading to new forms in the performing arts are being incubated within a university situated, media arts research context. While this may at first, demonstrate a renewed interest in time-based performance from the chiefly visual arts dominated media arts, performance is still largely an anomaly in this discourse of new media. At the recent REFRESH! 1st International Conference on Media Art History at the Banff Center for the Arts, for example, only two papers out of sixty had any substantial mention of dance, theater, music or opera as integral to the development new media art history. Although the term "research" in its current usage in the context of the performing arts is now superseding the actor-driven theatrical research of 1960s practitioners such as Grotowski, Barba and Brook in favor of institutionally driven, technologically augmented models, this certainly has some historical precedent. While clearly operating under completely different socio-economic contexts than our own, early twentieth century theater makers such as Meyerhold and Piscator managed to devise artistic work that also pushed the technological envelopes of the mode of production. Similarly, in the mid1950s, the Czech scenic designer Josef Svoboda re-arranged the entire scenic design department at the National Theater in Prague to become a Research & Development lab where groups of chemists, metallurgists, mechanical engineers and other disciplines helped invent technologies specifically for performance contexts; technologies which are still being used today. Yet, the kinds of research conducted specifically within the context of a professional performing arts institution as suggested by Svoboda or Piscator has all but vanished.

The shift towards university-based, research institutions attempting to produce innovations that may filter into the larger cultural ecologies may provide us with new models of both artistic and techno-scientific innovation yet, it is not without its questions. Should technological research act to develop "tools" or general purpose systems based on scientifically quantifiable heuristics that might be adopted by artists or should artistic contexts and content determine the scope, scale and delivery mechanisms of technological research? Based on the author's long-term experience navigating between research and professional media/performing arts contexts, this presentation will focus on two specific, yet distinct, case studies. Using the examples of both (1) a small scale, artistically driven, non-profit entity (Sponge) and (2), a new Montreal based media arts research institution housed within a university pedagogical context (Hexagram), the presentation will examine critical issues in the transferability of tools, practices and knowledge between the university teaching/research environment and the rigors of professional cultural production, "research/creation" methodologies and the differing life cycles distinguishing university research and professional production in the attempt to establish best practices for the burgeoning new area of performance research.

Marlon Barrios Solano (Venezuela/New York)

Unstable Landscapes: Dance improvisation within Cognitive Systems
(Bottom-up architectures of performance and multimedia design)

Improvisational dance performance is a technology ofcomposition in real-time, an interplay between "design and desire", between the architecture of thesystem and the cognitive processes of perception, memory and imagination. I introduce the notions of post-humanism, bottom-up
architectures of design and distributed agency as an exploration of improvisational dance within
multimedia system: a cognitive system of rules, computer interfaces and metaphors. Important implications about agency, autonomy and control will be explored.

Igor Stromajer (Ljubljana)

Ballettikka Internettikka
[ internet ballet ]

Ballettikka Internettikka is a serial of tactical art projects which began in 2001 with the exploration of internet ballet. It explores wireless internet ballet performances combined with guerrilla tactics and mobile live internet broadcasting strategies.

Authors: Igor Stromajer and Brane Zorman (in collaboration with Davide Grassi)

http://www.intima.org/bi

Chair: Kirk Woolford (Lancaster)

Panel 5 Lunch Forum

Private View - Arts Council England and BBC Artists' Commission

Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie

Simon Pope

Charade: Peer-to-peer distribution & performance of precarious media
Charade explores a scenario where data, stored in networked computer systems - under threat from hacks, crashes and viruses - takes flight back into the human body. An audience, engaged through a local publicity campaign, workshops and a large-scale public event, participates in a distributed performance of walking and memorizing.
Volunteers attempt to memorize a chosen piece of music, film, tv programme, play or books, currently stored on peer-to-peer networks; through a process of walking, memorizing, remembering and reciting, they each attempt to 'become' their favourite 'media asset'; support is given to them through a series of theatre workshops and development of online-communities; a number of volunteers record their progress as 'video diaries', made available online; at a large-scale public event all volunteers congregate to recite their chosen piece while wandering together, en masse  a re-creation of the final scenes of Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451.

Mark Waugh (Arts Council England)

I will discuss the context and background to the partnership and the objectives of the commissions. The changing models of distribution supported through Arts Council England.

Chair: Sarah Cooke (CRUMB)

Panel 6

A Description of the World as Though it was a Beautiful Place - The Play With Augmented Reality - Mixed reality - Gaming structures as performance work

Active Ingredient (Nottingham)

Richard Brown

Transparency, illusion and engagement: the Mimetic Starfish and Biotica.
The two interactive A-Life installations the Mimetic Starfish and Biotica will be used to demonstrate how the creation of augmented realities using projection and transparent gestural interaction can create a deep sense of immersion and engagement.
The starfish creates an immediate user experience with a simple interactive rule set whereas Biotica embraces the task of emergence with highly complex and changing rulesets. These two approaches will be discussed with reference to the issue of open versus closed spaces of engagement.
I will also discuss how the interplay of illusion and artificial life affects the cognitive and perceptual aspects of how people relate to, and perceive the two works.

Christian Nold

Cliff Randell (University of Bristol)

Wearable Computing and Augmented Reality: The State of Play
Wearable Computers offer the potential of providing augmented reality as part of our everyday experience. Using context sensors and head mounted displays it is possible to overlay the real world with images both altering and adding to our perceptions of reality. Technological limitations have, however, resulted in disappointing results. In this talk I will be reviewing some of the challenges to be overcome to achieve the seamless presentation of augmented reality and illustrating this with recent work on gaming using wearables. I will also discuss some alternative approaches which can provide usable AR with today's technology.

Nuno Sacramento (University of Dundee)

Situational Scripting: Materializating the encounter viewer / artwork, Or Programming experiential space
The Sculpture Show (TSS) stages an encounter between artworks and audience in two different settings (pristine art gallery and derelict building); questioning the way objects are selected and brought together in an architectural context in front of a viewer.
It functions as one large installation rather than a random grouping of individual works. Space is orchestrated in a way in which one work melts into the next, taking the viewer on a seamless journey through the exhibition environment.
TSS does not focus only on the artworks but also on the spaces between them, i.e. the architectural envelope  (Daniel Buren), lighting, information labels and all the elements that constitute the exhibition. It scrutinizes the space perambulated by the viewer.
It moves away from a frontal visual engagement between viewer and spotlit object (White Cube type gallery) supported by label and catalogue essay, into a type of experience undisputably closer to everyday life. Objects are not treated as precious pieces of art but as facilitators of actions in space.>> From the exposition concept Bsides  The Sculpture Show
In the past, space was merely an attribute of a work of art, rendered by illusionistic conventions in painting or by displacement of volume in sculpture, and the space that separated the viewer and object was ignored as just distance. This invisible dimension is now being considered as an active ingredient, not simply to be represented but to be shaped and characterized by the artist(...) The human presence and perception of the spatial context have become materials of art. 
From the exposition concept SPACES by Jennifer Licht

1. No other civilization emptied out its interior spaces and made them pure white, and then singled out an object and put it on this wall or on that pedestal in such isolation  as described by Mary Anne Staniszewsky.

Jen Southern (Digital Research Unit, University of Huddersfield)
Chair: Steven Benford (Mixed Reality Lab)

Panel 7

New research addressing Dance, Performance and Digital Cultures

Ran Hyman (Simon Fraser University)

formula AFOTEK

[:] African Dance set to Tekhno Music

Aylin Kalem (TECHNE Festival, Istanbul)

"Becoming" through Performance

This paper examines the issues of the body in performance with new technologies. The cyber technologies put forth a re-questioning of the condition of the body on Earth, particularly in terms of the notions of embodiment and disembodiment. Due to the new technologies, we are living in a period where we can have direct control on our evolution as mankind towards the post-human. The critical question at this moment is whether man will completely leave his biological body behind, and what bodily transformation will occur with the union of man and machine. Mankind confronts a number of threats concerning its present existence on Earth like ecological problems. It must undergo some mutation in order to continue its species in a certain kind and on some other place. The question is how are we to engender our future specie? How are we going to project ourselves in the future?

With modernity art and technology came to be considered as two separate entities, and most often as two opposite poles. However, techne, the Greek root for technology, comprises equally the meanings of art, skill and craftsmanship. In other words, as Heidegger points out, art and technology are essentially two combined notions. Thus, technology is not a tool; it determines the humanity's projection about itself. Accordingly, it moulds the body, and its perception and expression. The evolution of mankind is determined through the technology he produces. This is an imaginary thus, an artistic phenomenon. Through this phenomenon mankind continues its transformation.

Thus, how the design of the humankind will be determined. Art and technology are in a collaborative process in this mission. Where scientists are searching the means to concretize projects, artists provide them with inspiration. However, there is a big debate of whether we will grow into a future where we will be freed of our limiting bodies or we will take our bodies with us and conceive a new one.

This debate puts forth a parallel question of whether the body is going to be conceived as an object, an object of design, in the neo-Cartesian dualism that proposes the formulation of "I have a body" or as a body-subject suggesting a corporeal presence due to the physical, sensory and perceptive interaction with the world referring here to the Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty that modifies the formula to "I am a body".

This question of the body is analysed particularly through the projects of a performance artist called Stelarc. His conception of the body seems quite problematic in the sense that although he seems to take the body first as an object of design, his works are so very much rely on the sensory aspect of the body. He seems to propose a third alternative that goes beyond the two opposing alternatives of the body as object or the body as subject. This is examined in reference to Deleuzian concept of "becoming" that implies the formulation of the body as project.

Stamatia Portanova

Dance, technology and the material mutations of rhythm

The object of this paper is to discuss the relation between dance and technology in all its different aspects, i.e. video-dance, Motion Capture, the Dance Forms choreographic software, interactive and Internet dance. The aim is to take the analysis of the dance/technology relation beyond the notions of conscious imitation, resemblance and representation presupposed by structuralist and post-structuralist readings of the 'mediatised' dance-text, and beyond the subjective perceptual/performative mechanisms explained by phenomenology.

On one hand, the debate about dance and technology is embedded in structuralist theories reducing the body, society and media to a unique system of symbolic and linguistic constructions and representations; on the other hand, other critical readings are more influenced by the assumptions of phenomenology about the centrality of the perceiving human subject.

The main problematic of both these approaches can be identified with the reduction of the body, its perceptions and movements to hermeneutic or phenomenological structures based on fundamental dualisms between reality/representation, live body/mediatised body, subject/object, which rely on an essentialist tradition of thought. In order to avoid this textual/phenomenological impasse, I will move the analytical focus on the materiality of the body, perception and movement, as a common and undifferentiated field of emergence in which specific corpo-realities and positions emerge.

In other words, the main questions this project will explore are: can we think the 'mediatised' dancing body on screen as being as material as the 'live' performing one? In what ways can we conceptualise this common materiality beyond all dualistic presuppositions?

In order to discuss these questions, drawing on the philosophical work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, I will deploy a new methodology for the exploration of the dance/technology link, mapping the processes of rhythmic material transmission which link dancing human bodies and technical machines, challenging the centrality attributed by phenomenology to the human body and considering it as only one of the different components of a material process of rhythmic interchange in which all elements (human bodies of dancers and spectators, computers, screens and other technical machines) share the same rhythmic dimension.

Ivani Santana (University of Bahia)

Ambiguous Zones: The Intertwining of Dance and World in the Technological Era

This paper analyses the relationship between body and technology in the field of dance by proposing a reflection on the idea of what we call "ambiguous zones". Taking the theories of Semiotics (C.S.Peirce) and some branches of Cognitive Sciences (António Damásio, Lakoff & Johnson) as a point of departure we propose to discuss the role of technology in a mediatized culture as an agent that operates in the configuration of new instances of what can be understood as technological poetics in dance.

In 1996 I started a partnership with the musician Fernando Iazzetta and our main concern was to explore the poetic use of technology in our performances Since them, we have produced many works involving music, dance and image in which the interplay between the concepts of liveness, virtuality and real time played a significant role. Most of our attention has been guided towards the creation of environments that establish what we call "ambiguous zones". By environment we understand all the constitutive elements of a performance: the dancers bodies and their movements, the music, the sound design, the lighting, the video scenery, the audience and so on. By "ambiguous zones" we mean the intermediate regions that are constructed between what is being generated "live" at the time of the performance and what is the diffusion of previously created material. The audience is always exposed to three types of events: the ones produced during the performance by the real dancers and musicians; the ones that are produced with the involved technology; and those that have been previously recorded and processed. The mixing of these types of material during the performance brings up this "ambiguous zones" that takes place between what is being generated "here and now" by the performers and what is just the diffusion previously produced material. To achieve this undefined zone, in which the audience sometimes is unable to differentiate real time events from pre-recorded ones, we have explored different technologies and interfaces.

Based on this conceptual framework we propose a reflection on the use of new technologies in dance and its implications for the establishment of new configurations in which body, dance, music, image and environment are used to challenge the dichotomies between mind/body, natural/artificial and real/virtual. For this purpose I present a brief analysis of some works - Corpo Aberto (Open Body, 2001), Pele (Skin, 2002) and Casa de Nina (House of Nina, 2004) and conclude that what is important is not the aesthetics and powerful of digital effect of the computacional systems, but what the technology contributes for our knowledge of body and dance. The mainstream of this discussion has three principal points: immersion, interactivity and real time. And these points are important even if we didn't use high technology in the performance. It's the case of "e fez o homem a sua diferença" (and make the man as his difference, 2005), that will be also analysed here and with which I conclude this paper. These terms immersion, interactivity and real time have been enhanced in this era of digital technology, however, for us, these are the principle of life. The existence of the first cell was possible because it could be immerse in the system interacting with the environment in real time, so it's not a privilege of the digital era.

 

Isabel de Cavadas Valverde

Re-Troping the Interface: towards alternative discourses on performance in the digital domain
What alternatives can we develop to the superficial technology-based distinctions for organizing performative work exploiting new media ? How can we develop consistent inclusive approaches that, instead, prioritize the highly complex processes amongst increasing numbers of elements-participants-cultures? What are the implications of such a shift in the way we engage with and write about these works?
With the intent to contributing to a different understanding and structuring of this hybrid terrain and work formats, I searched for an inclusive figure/term that could help identify and map directions in the recent investment of performance practice in the digital domain. After identifying most common aspects and issues involved in a wide variety of works at the turn of the millenium, I developed a theoretical framework rooted in the very notion of interface. Realizing that each work tends to always emphasize certain aspects, or way of interfacing, around which the work evolves, I elaborated an interface typology.
Such (dance-tech) interface typology perceives interface not only in its Human Computer Interface s, hardware and software design, literal meaning, but are also and mostly perceived as tropes. As such, they identify particular modes of experience and representation involved in interactions between participants and the elements constituting the works. I illustrate this approach comparing aspects of different works, such as Halo, Biped, CO3, and Whisper. Synthesizing various hybrid theoretical perspectives (such as, P. Levy, M. Heidegger, K. Hayles, D. Haraway, A. Jones) towards a techno-semio-phenomenological approach, I expose the works  compliance and/or fostering alternatives to the perpetuation into the digital realm of reductive and conservative ideas and practices about bodies and embodiment, and related cultural issues.

Henry Daniel (TRANSNET, Vancouver)

Report on TransNEt

Panel Respondents: Philippe Baudelot (Monaco Dance Forum), Sue Broadhurst (Brunel University)

Panel 8

Closing Panel: Digital Cultures & Technology Art

Philippe Baudelot (Monaco Dance Forum)

Autodidact digital artists: disruptive but vital creativity

Within twenty years, our technical and cultural environment was completely upset by the digitalization of the society. We appropriated multiple domestic and professional equipments (television, computers, digital cameras, home studios, cellular phones, internet, video games). A new economy of the cultural practices appeared. Many people consider that this evolution constitutes a historic mutation leading to a new organization (education, work, leisure activities, arts) whose exact contours we cannot again draw. We can still hope that it will not be that of the advertising agents and the reality-TV. The role of the artists will be significant.

In this frame, even if the fact to use digital tools is not enough to create a work of art, we observe the emergence of new artistic creation in self-taught forms. Some artists, having no erudite training, but mastering tools (in the field of their professional life and accessible technically and financially), their sensibility to the world and their intuition, came to fit in the world of the arts.

For all the artists, the questions of the technique, the gesture, the being in the world, are central. But, for the learned digital artists, the mediation with "things" is traditionally made via a "academic" knowledge leaning on the history, the analysis, the theory as much as on the practice and the sensibility. While for the autodidact digital artists, it passes by the life and the tool such as it is lived. That is by a direct face to face with the digital material giving to the body and to the breath their full strength. The knowledge of these artists is a transformation of knowledge mediatized by a preliminary theoretical discourse. They enrich it with aesthetics and cultures which did not participate in the arts for a long time. We take into account the influence of the different electronic and mass media on their inspiration. If they are sometimes "victims" of these, they know how to divert them, break the codes, re-make them their to end in an original expression. Quite as the learned digital artists. In fact, similarities of concerns appear both on an artistic plane and more widely political. The questions join. The exchanges between the learned artists and the self-taught artists become more frequent. If this disrupts the learned artistic community in its foundations, in its certainties and in its institutional weight, it already has had a strong impact on it nevertheless. As the established arts can bring their knowledge to the culture, so do the autodicacts have to teach them a lot. This is probably vital for all.

Beryl Graham (CRUMB)

Critical Interaction: New media art interaction and the art world

Currently, the only permanently displayed interactive artwork in London is in The Science Museum. Do art galleries have a problem with interaction in particular? This question is explored with reference to debate on the CRUMB discussion list, examples of interactive artwork, and a critical look at kinds and levels of interaction

Mine Kaylan (LELEG Institute)

 

Report on LELEG Institute

Aylin Kalem Iscen (Istanbul, Techne Festival)

Report on Techne Restival

Armando Menicacci (Mediadanse, Paris)

Specificity of the dancing body corporality: a symbolic/physiological approach

Referring to words signifying abstract category nobody is shocked by the lack of a term for dance. In music we have "musicality" in theater we have "theatrical" and in dance we have... "dance". This means that there is constant confusion between A dance and the specificity of the dancing movement. Starting from the body movement analysis theory and practice developed in Paris 8 University we'll detail thoughts about relationships between dance and digital technology in some contemporay artworks and foundamental researches we worked on.

Erin Manning

Incipient Action : The Dance of the Not-Yet

In my arms you move my movement. To lead, I must first reach toward the incipience of a movement that remains to come. When I move myself to move you I will always in fact only have moved myself. To move together, I must instead engage our bodies-in-movement before they are actually displaced: to lead is to engage ourselves at the level of virtual movement, in a breath, a strance, a grounding that calls forth not a movement per se, but a direction into which we will then follow. Such displacements choreograph space-time.

Tango is a walking dance. When I take your hand to walk with you in the parc we are engaged in a similar practice of leading and following: front, front, front, side, front. I can walk with you because we allow ourselves to listen to the directions our bodies are reaching toward. Following is restricted as soon as I think I already know where you are going: I have already left.

Tango checks the parameters of this everyday practice of leading and following by placing us in an embrace that constrains the possibilities of our movement. This constraint is not a limit, but an opening toward an improvisational movement that will always be multiplied: you, me, the dance floor. In your arms, I must conform to the space-time of the embrace, lest I throw us both off balance. In this sense, tango is a more spatially defined instance of walking in the parc that challenges me to be open to the multitude of potential inherent in every front, side and back step. Like walking, tango always keeps one foot on the floor. Incipient movement in tango resides in the potential of the free leg: when I actually move, I have committed myself by claiming space-time with that dancing leg: front, side, back, side, front, front, front.

In this paper, I will explore this notion of incipient movement as a way of beginning a dialogue on the manner in which bodies in relation create space-time. I will argue that bodies always already exist in relation, touching toward one another, listening, smelling, moving. Extending this line of thought, I will then argue that the relational body is a body that is both virtually and actually inventing and renewing space-time. To think of this creative process in its incipience is to allow for a wider breadth of potential at the level of the sensing body. To move in this regard is not simply to trace a path but to embody its potential.

I will also begin an exploration of the ways in which new technologies (such as motion sensors) challenge, inhibit, prolong this incipiency. Rather than thinking of these technologies as simple external prosthetics to an already-existing movement, I will posit them as additional members of a potential sensing body whose space-time can never be pre-defined. An additional organ - a technology of sense - alters modalities of becoming (including sense modalities) but does so not through a simple process of addition (a body + a prosthesis) but through a redefinition of the very terms of relation.

Nuno Sacramento

Respondent

Chair: Johannes Birringer

 

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