Random Dance Explores Cognition and Artificial Intelligence

In my latest post in The Kinetic Interface blog, I write about Wayne McGregor's Random Dance and their explorations into neuroscience and artificial intelligence. The primary focus of this post is on "Entity," which premiered at Sadler's Wells on April 10, 2008. I include video interviews with McGregor and excerpts from Entity.

I'd like to learn about other dance projects that deal with neuroscience-related topics -- Thanks.

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Comment by Johannes Birringer on May 22, 2008 at 12:21pm
thanks for your reply, very well, Doug.

(just to clarify, i was not implying what you infer........"connection between research and practice and I take it from your comment that in the academic world that this relationship is not valued as much as it could be" --

rather, i was hinting at the fact that it's a hotly debated subject amongst institutions / universities that award advanced research degrees, and award Phds for practice based research, and I what i meant to say is that it is not easy to find generally agreeable criteria of evaluation, apart from the ones that are firmlu established in research institutions and humanities/science programs.; i.e. how to you measure the dance work in the research framework or the research process (and investigations that may have been done to make an original contribution to knowledge in the field) within or alongside the choreographic process and its manifestations on stage or on screen.)

Comment by Doug Fox on May 21, 2008 at 3:17pm
Johannes, thanks for your comment and feedback about my post.

It would have been great to have seen premiere and discussion at Sadler's Wells - I'd appreciate your thoughts and reactions to it. And I'm planning to follow-up with Scott deLahunta about his participation.

One of my objectives with my new blog, The Kinetic Interface, is to cover dance in a way that people in non-dance fields will find of interest. The Entity project is a good one to delve into for this purpose. By discussing the research side in conjunction with the dance work, it makes Wayne McGregor's explorations of interest to many people involved in different aspects of neuroscience and cognition. And the extensive materials and video clips about Entity and other McGregor performances/projects makes everything significantly more accessible.

So I'm very interested in the connection between research and practice and I take it from your comment that in the academic world that this relationship is not valued as much as it could be.

Dance writers strike me as often dismissive or uninterested in the the research that goes into a work -- maybe in some cases, they do not understand the research into cognition, for example. And dance writers do not seem very interested in the creative process either.

Overall, I really appreciate it when choreographers/artists provide extensive background materials and research -- videos are always very helpful -- about the work.

Comment by Johannes Birringer on May 21, 2008 at 12:35pm
this is very very helpful and informative, to read your site and see the interviews etc. well done, Doug, and i think it would be worth having a bit of a discussion, won;t you all think?
I saw the premiere in London, and also attended the Friday afternoon think tank at Sadler's Wells, that was a seminar on ENTITY research organised and moderated by Scott deLahunta, and it featured several of the scientists and programmers involved in the research.

It is also interesting to think of ENTITY (the dance work) and ENTITY (the research project) and the relations between the two, even if this is not a crucial subject for everyone, but the research/practice based research issue now comes up more frequently in discussions (in UK) about research degrees. And since most dance programs in the US, as i remember, or dance / art departments in other countries perhaps as well (in Germany, and probably France also, the research degrees would be awarded to scholarship, not a new work or composition) do not award Phds or do not as yet fully embrace "art practice / research practice" in their intertwined manifestations, it might be fascinating to see how Wayne evolved his work, when he started to align some of his conceptual processes with (scientific) research processes, and where this took him as a choreographer, how it affects the dancers, the company. after all, the dance concer (and public Q & A) at Sadlers Wells was shown as a new concert, not a research outcome, and the press (as so often) tends to belittle the conceptual aspects of the work (that were "written" in the program book). I need to read your blog again, Doug, and think of more questions to ask.
Comment by Doug Fox on May 19, 2008 at 11:27am
Cassiel, thanks for link to Quartet Project. I'll take a look. I enjoyed learning about Entity. I think it's a fascinating project - how are you involved?
Comment by cassiel on May 19, 2008 at 10:50am
The Quartet Project (supported by the Wellcome Trust) had some neuroscientific content.

(Disclaimer: I worked on Quartet, and am also working on Entity.)

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