"dance and tech" is a field of theft and non-authentic invention continued...

On the "genre" of dance and technology, a comment was made that the people who use the tools in dance and tech are just feeding off of the creativity of the person who invented the tool.


I orginally posted the above statement in a blog which I shared with some friends on this network. The statement ilicited many provocative responses and a heated discussion began to take place within a few hours. So we moved the discussion to the forum where there would be more room for the vast responses on this topic. The first 3 posts below are the statements made in the blog, copied and pasted here so that the discussion may continue in the forum - which turned out to be a more appropriate home for such reflective responses and debates.

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Hi Johannes,

I agree, what's considered a tool at this time is relevant, and also I agree with your question to Raphael about the success of recent works, and whether or not data, or some other media, is raw material. That's where I was going. Not to overload you Raphael, but additionally, what constitutes rawness.. is it a form that comes to you before you manipulate it or integrate it? Is it deconstructing that media, or form, to find the raw idea within it?

I think the person who I originally quoted in this discussion topic was referring to softwares, because they had no problem using video or stage lights. So probably software...

What about robotics? Telematics? Are these technologies as creatively deterministic as software?

The person was saying that some software predetermines or invents what options there are, and the artist who uses them doesn't go far enough to get credit. Chunky Moves is a good example of not doing that. They extended the dialog of the software, not just restated it. But we need to make a place for that - the restating, the exploration in subtle ways, and how that may be a subtle phenomenological excursion into simply experience. Johannes, I disagree that theft and inauthenticity are irrelevant concepts, on your premise that how we map or perceive our tools and our interaction with tools makes for a phenomenological field of inquiry that supercedes the question of origin - which is heavily tied to questions of literacy and power.

Phenomenology and Origin are inextricably linked. One must not be sacrificed for the other. An intriguing choreographic process, or the beauty of the outcome may be captivating, but should not render questions of power and origin irrelevant - which is ultimately what the questions of theft, authorship, ownership, and authenticity boil down to. It is wonderful to discuss the discoveries of eye-catching work and research, but we must never forget to investigate and remember the origins.

I see genesis of tools and ways of using tools as collaborative. If there is anything that this conversation accomplishes, perhaps it is the fact that we could all spend some time clarifying what we see now, when we look at art or dance, when we are truly entering a new paradigm of hybrid, collaborative genesis, and a growing field of mixed realities, in which perception and certainty are relative. We will need to retrain eyes and rethink methods.
The first page of the discussion (and all those initial postings) was quite formidable, and maybe we haven't added anything at this point, probably because we had forgotten who said what and why and in what context.... I suppose i was wondering, perhaps too casually, why anyone in the arena of retroengineering and repurposing and open source file sharing was worried about "theft" in the manner, say, in which one talks about authorship or control of intellectual property (or rights, as in the music industry trying to prevent folks from downloading too much); i was not sure that you wanted to address ownership of tools (?), and i am not sure what is meant by "inauthentic" in the context of dance and technology or performance in computational environments. I guess notions of "origin" had been questioned, yes? and co -authorship is taken almost for granted in interactive art and in collaborative work that involves fusions of different techniques. As far as software and dance and cameras are concerned, each tends to be of a different category, no? and how would (which) notion of authenticity apply to each of the categories? Again, nothing can be quite generalized, there may be plenty of choreographers and composers out there who might argue their work is not co-generative, but scored by them and by them only (thus the persistence of signatures).
There was a dance form, wasn't there, that called itself authentic movement. I thought calling a movement authentic is actually as much an ideological gesture as calling Photoshop art. But now I have lost any train, about the origins of this thought. Following Kubrick, one might think tools are a myth.
Thanks for clarifying. These are tough questions. No quick answer. Let's just pick up with the conversation right here. It's as good a point as any.

I'll speak for myself. I don't prioritize open source because I have access to a lot in the university. I am highly engaged in the debates regarding economy, piracy, and freeware: I'm not sure I'd rather pay for a coke than a program, or work of art.

I think this is a very important discussion, and perhaps belongs in a new thread. about open sourcing - the culture of sharing - does it economically weaken the arts domain? strengthen? balance out? in relation to other fields?

The context of the original conversation, from my vantage point, was the way that technology determins options. I wanted to interrogate that relationship a bit. Who's creating what? If we are collaborating, do we attend to the relationship between software and choreography as we do in classical theory to that of music and choreography? We found out a lot of us have not considered it. There are many angles to examine.

I wasn't really meaning ownership in that legal sense in this conversation. You did bring up a good point though.


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