[dance-tech] Re: March-April Discussion forum on dance/performance and participation

  • From: "Thomas F. DeFrantz" <t.defrantz@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx" <Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>, "dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 11 Apr 2015 20:47:09 +0000

Jaime did terrific work at Duke with our students here. We have undergraduate
and graduate students interested in these areas of exploration. I become
frustrated on our list that so much of the discourse centers on creative work
and research, and so little seems to be concerned with teaching and encouraging
younger/emerging researchers/engineers/artists toward these areas of inquiry.
Surely most of our "audiences" are actually students of some sort (this would
be true in the USA at least), and a divide between creative craft and pedagogy
might be disingenuous.

In any case, the undergraduate students that Jaime lectured to/witnessed while
he was here build 'choreographic objects' that are purposed toward
storytelling, in this year's case, about environmental injustice and social
relationships to 'the natural.' the students work in groups to build an
Arduino-driven flower that responds to human interaction. now, for their final
project, they incorporate Kinect sensing with a patch written through the
Microsoft SDK to create a short performance that implicates the 'audience' in
the object and its motion. their final project involves 3-d printing,
arduinos, wii-motes, Isadora patches, Kinect interface, and prepared media. we
will create a video document of these, and I'll happily share it when it is
finished in a month or so.

for these students, the imperative to implicate passers-by or their peers into
the creation of these objects comes with the assignment. so here is a
generation of engineer-artists always already thinking about design in
relationship to use/interaction even as they create performance.

I wonder if assuming that social performance and interactive objects are the
beginning of possibilities, rather than an end, changes the discussion a bit.
these students think of choreographic objects as toys, of a sort, to be played
with toward the purpose of creating social awareness, and inspiring 'awe.'

all best, from durham, NC,


Thomas F. DeFrantz
Chair, DUKE African and African American Studies
Professor, DUKE DANCE, Theater Studies
Director, SLIPPAGE:Performance|Culture|Technology
Founding Director, Collegium for African Diaspora Dance

-----Original Message-----
From: dance-tech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:dance-tech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Johannes Birringer
Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2015 4:34 PM
To: dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: remove
Subject: [dance-tech] Re: March-April Discussion forum on dance/performance and

dear all

may I propose we continue our discussion until next Sunday, April 19, to
complete the month long debate and test whether our old dance-tech list is
alive and well?

I hope to encourage you to join, and reply and discuss: I have tried to
moderate but it is a little frustrating if the colleagues who have posted do
not return or others do no send a rejoinder or query or comment..... The
community, as shared discussion amongst all of us, is brought alive by you and
only if you do care to reply and sustain the discussion, as thought process.

and I am going back to something that John Collingswood had sent (below), which
is in synchrony with some other posts that dealt with hybrid systems or
participant systems and techniques, and when I mentioned Simone Forti
yesterday, and the exhibition "Thinking with the body" -- I was in fact hoping
that the topic of social choreography and meta-choreography could be broached,
in many ways:

How did they (audiences) care to share stories, John?

How was the "MetabBody" forum at your location, Tommy?

I think Jaime del Val now will host a similar forum in California, soon
(International Metabody Forum at UC Berkeley.
May 7-9, 2015, an event with live performances, workshops, a panel : "Reversing
Cybernetics, Queering Control" , etc..)

Speaking of control, has anyone wanted to respond to the propositions by
Jeannette, Yacov, and Alexandre when they spoke about their work?

how does design, parameterization, capture, and hybridity / dis-alignment (one
aspect of Metabody project is the avenue that Robert Wechsler has pursued
working with disabilities and disability culture) and thus 'controllers' relate
to the subversion issue and the democratization utopia (engaging audiences to
become co-producers) of participation? what is co-produced?

And lastly, how, to ask again, have we moved from stage performances to
something (if we draw a historical line via Simone Forti, Hélio Oiticiva, Lygia
Clark, Olafur Eliasson, Paul Chan, etc) that is environment, atmosphere and
object related such as, for example, the so-called "choreographic objects" that
were exhibited over the past few years (William Forsythe's 'choreographic
objects' come to mind, but is not Isaac Julien film installation a
choreographic object too, or Moholy-Nagy's kinetic works?)

what is a choreographic object, and can it be participatory (or has to be so)
and in what manner?

Johannes Birringer

[John Collingswood schreibt]

this discussion is fascinating, thankyou to everyone who is contributing
examples of their work and information about their practice.

the idea of using technology to share the creative process with the audience
was the subject of a recent audience development research project undertaken by
myself as artist, Tanja Raman as choreographer (together we are known as
TaikaBox) and MOON - a digital design studio.

we created a hybrid system (choreographic/digital) that enables an audience to
become co-creators in a dance experiment. using a custom web app, they share
stories that become the source material for what happens on stage. using a
combination of improvisation, choreographic processes and google, we guide them
through the creation of movement sequences based on their stories, soliciting
their choices regarding how the movement and environment develop. we relinquish
a certain amount of control over the creative process, and - hopefully - the
audience feels engaged, educated and stimulated by what they experience.

the project website is at http://www.pleaseswitchon.com/

one iteration of the research was a one-hour event performed simultaneously for
a studio audience, and online collaborators who were presented with the same
tools as the in-house audience. the online experience is archived at

all the best,

John Collingswood

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