Ok, I'm a relative outsider, an extremely passive performance artist and am wondering about the use here of the merger 'dance' and 'technology'.

What is its prevalent use here; dance as technology, technology as dance, technology for dance, technology enhanced dance, dance around technology perhaps, ... ? All? Why does it matter, is it important? This group? Is dance without technology überhaupt possible? Is a tech deprived stage to be found anywhere these days?

From your own perspective can you describe what this is about? Your personal definition? If possible no more than one paragraph. Also am not looking for intellectual prowess/muscle flexing or ego riding, just some thoughts/answers, leave the rest for the next coffee table round. ;)

Tags: dance, definition, technology, testing, the, waters

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Hi Arthur,

this question always makes me sigh when I tell someone what my major is.


So, at this sleepy hour and after losing and rewriting 3 drafts of my reply a bit ago, I have a few simple things that I know. When I hear dance and tech, I think - it better not be ANOTHER interactive aucio/video environment.

It better not be ANOTHER...

dance contextualized by projected videos
dancer controlled by robotics or sensors
improvisation in real time that composes the score
motion capture in real time translated to animated projections
wearable technologies that do something with sound or video
animated avatars in second life
real time "telematic" improvising

BUT - yearbody by Troika Ranch was cool

hmmm - but you're right about lights on stage. That technology is pretty much not going anywhere.

but, site specific dance is often performed outdoors.

Dance w/o technology is a really fascinating thing sometimes. No music, no lights. It can be really intense.

But, I think when we refer to dance and technology on this site we're not talking about audio recordings as technology or even lighting design - we mostly mean computers, circuits, switches, signal processing... that type of stuff... in the dance somehow in a way that totally makes new possibilities for dance composition and
"meaning" in dance.

Some people use cell phones in creative ways, live net searches, blue tooth.... just, anything and everything basically.
First of all... what do you mean you are a relative outsider? What does that mean? What kind of excuse is that?

It's fine to ponder these questions of dance and technology, and to find one's personal definition... why don't you read some books, take some classes, and tell me your personal definition Arthur? Perhaps your personal definition of dance and technology is to question it. Okay.

dance=any movement (including stillness and playing dead) of the body
technology=anything human made
I think this site deals with the more electronic techey side... than the crafts of sewing and weaving, but who knows where it can go.
Hi Julie,

I did ask that question partly to see if there is still enthusiasm for technology in this context. After the roaring art+tech nineties, I sense a decline in enthusiasm and mostly see concepts repeated over and over. New media can hardly be called new anymore, it's passé. The emergent void will most likely be filled with the hords from the 'critical' theory arena, so it might be time to move on.

It could also be that technology as a topic is increasingly becoming a non-issue in a world where it is already integrated into every aspect of life. For example, when writing a blog about something happening on stage, do you regard this as being busy with technology as such? Not likely. Are you surprised by technological advances? Not likely either as technological development has become a predictable process and proves to be annoyingly slow.

This might sound a bit pessimistic, but I'm not, on the micro level it's still interesting to work on stuff, but on the macro level it seems stuck.

Maybe I should rephrase that question: "what drives you people in this dance+tech scene, macro or micro?"
Hi Ashley,

Thanks for the reply.

Regarding the relative outsider, I just happen to bump into this scene from an art+tech background and am just wondering what people do here, what makes this particular combo special. Yes, it's a probe and am apparently unaware of existing scene conventions. Read books first? Classes? I think I asked a legitimate question, but maybe I'm wrong. But in case, do you have some good references?

For instance, what textbook did your definition come from?

dance=any movement (including stillness and playing dead) of the body
technology=anything human made
Hi Arthur

I like dance and I like computers. I make work where I have been trying to find ways to bring my two favourite things together. To quote Simon Penny, "The functionality of computers have been formed by military, bureaucratic, technical and commercial forces, not by cultural ...only a process of bringing such background to consciousness and experimenting outside of it will offer new models for interaction."

I think dance and technology is a broad field and that it incorporates all the questions you are asking. I think it is interesting what you are saying about New Media, because dance-tech has gone through similar issues. Now, this is a generalization but earlier dance-tech work focused on the technology and developing systems. Even the themes of the work incorporated technology. Now the technology has become more of a means to an end. But what this end is...I am not sure. For me, it depends on the piece.

Also, I would say you are not quite the outsider you claim to be... I remember seeing your facial muscles being stimulated by a motion captured dance performance a couple years ago at Digital Cultures ;-)

Kate
well, he did say "relative" outsider. I don't think anything I've seen or heard that he's done would disagree with that statement.
I was just teasing...
Hi,

yes, that mocap telematic muscle stim experiment was fun, I have done some pieces with remote control over my facial muscles before, but the level of control became quite refined. The dancer reported it a very strange experience to be linked so directly to someone else's facial movements; proportionally lifting his arm, raising my eyebrow. The face as a playground.

This was my first encounter with the dance-tech scene and this group thingy here my second. My questions originate from that experience and as it triggered curiosity about what people here do and the mindset they apply to it.

The charter for this site is to stimulate debate and the sharing of ideas, etc. Now, three people of the 80+ populace have responded to a question about the core of its existence; which is better than the 1% average on most forums (way to go!), but still doesn't really make many waves.

Should I stop probing and sit back and watch the (unstable?) landscape pass by? That would be opposite to my normal modus operandi. What to do in the arts; tease or please. (Thanks Kate! and Tony for that tuby bit.)

What we want is play, play with bits, play with words, play with established conventions, play with the damn theorists, play with expectations. Have the ability to contradict oneself. That's the arts core business, isn't it.

At the Tate, Louise Bourgeoise's 'Be Calm' tea towel seems popular, I might need one.

ae_
I've been doing some thinking on my post a while ago -

each of those categories are their own mediums. it's not fair to say that exploration in these media does not conceptually progress the field of dance tech. maybe not create a NEW concept in dance tech - but progressing each separate concept all on their own.
A very tight relationship with the wearable...the swingwing effect...ilnall that we do for while...
I want dance and technologist also to include this: click, click...controlling, training, representing...Willy Ninja would have never joined to this network...but we can understand the relationship of embodying...cameras, beauty...and love.
I want the field to also study this relationship...metaphors and practices of embodiment flashes and geometries...and CREATE a prosthetics shoulder pads...
Hello all,
I have been reading this thread about mathematics and kinesthetics. I think that it is very relevant to relate the core and the focus of this thread to Arthur's question about dance and technology and its relationship with science.
I think that is is important for us as practitioners and researchers in this field that more and more main stream science (SCIENCE) is studying movement , animal and human motion in a combination of interdisciplinary projects that recently have also been included within cognitive science.
This is quite interesting also because movement artists (dance or dance and technology) have been reading, studying, getting inspiration from main stream science and some other rather fringie projects from long time.
It is easy to find traces of ecological psycology (JJ Gybson was very fringy by then) in Lisa Nelson's work on improvisational scores using the vision system (Tunning Scores), or the relation of the Scott Kelso and Turvey school of dynamics patterns for the study of movement, posture and the experience of movement with new approaches in kinesiology. The dynamics school are considering movement as cognition as alternative models in order to be able to reserach it with qualitative methods (now digital technologies are also allowing to measure changes in real-time).
There is a lot important research done in the University of Indiana by psychologist Esther Thellen et al (she is also a Feldenkrais practitioner). I would add to this group the influential embodied cognition approach (Varela, Marturana, Thompson) and the sub-sumption architecture from the MIT robotics lab (Rodnie Brooks), they facilitated all these research projects giving a new "world view" that went beyond the new computational/mathematical tools. The wold view stated that a cognitive system is not a computer, it is dynamical system. " It is not the brain, , inner and encapsulated: rather it is the whole system comprised of nervous system, body and environment (Gelder and Port in Mind as Motion from MIT press). There is also very cool reserach from VJ Ramachnadram about phantom limbs (that are felt and moved) and Andy Clark's Being There and Natural Born Cyborgs

My point is that, science had to develop and accept a "new "paradigm that changed the notion of cognition from the linguistic disembodied paradigm put forth by Marvin Minky and others and thanks to the influence and investments in robotics we started hearing about biological intelligence (not just about talking), non-linguistic approaches to intelligence: movement based approaches.
With this post, I just wanted to create bit of context for this discussion and to share a vision in which a dance specialists are collaborating actively in interdisciplinary teams with scientists and sharing the huge amount of knowhow and insights that have been an "of course" for many dancers: motion is a at the core of cognition.

So, I have not read this article that Tony quoted but I think that it is important to clean our epistemology understanding the dynamic relation of brain, body and environment and of course the complexity of the conscious experience. It is not sufficient to focus in the brain only just because the cool. This is not just mathematics, of physics, that are felt.
It is the relational, dynamic and intricate coupling between emergent processes that shapes the body that we have evolved with our embodied metaphorical mind and its affordances (how Gibson would say).

So, this dance and technologist of the future might be working in a robotics lab to help to understand composition in real time with very simple cues or trying to investigate the Improvisational model of Bill Forsythe with eye tracking systems in the audience members averaging the geometries that are "created" and fidn the correlation with the compositional intentions of the dancers. The core issue here is that premises about the relationship between, mind body and environment have already changed and we would have integrated the vast knowhow of dance practitioners with supercool hight tech tools. .. a post-humanist researcher?
(There already interesting initiatives: Choreography and cognition, de laHunta, Dance in the head,
edited by Johannes Birringer....and much more research in this area).

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