[dance-tech] Sensordance, etc........The language of technology - the technology of dance

  • From: "Jaime del Val" <jaimedelval@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 16:28:58 +0200

Hello Matt and List,

Here go some responses (actually I think that much of the debate has to do
with different uses of language that eventually induce misunderstandings, I
hope not make things too obscure,  I guess they would  need much longer
explanantions about the use of each concept).

> the relationship between technologies and language is different to
> that of dance. linguistic and conceptual inversion of tools /
> languages can be used to repurpose technologies  and stimulate debate,
> but they are still removed from the 'dance' itself. anyway, if a
> technology is initially developed for dance then its subversion is
> 'extended technique'.

You speak of language and dance as two opposed or distinct categories. I
question the distinctiveness of verbal language, whereby it would be rather
a complex effect of sedimentation of non verbal aspects of communication.
(therefore also the divide between verbal and non verbal is fragile). one
could certainly attempt to interpret dance through the logocentric lense of
traditional verbal language representations (grammar, syntax, etc.) but most
of us might agree that it needs a different paradigm. Such is also the case
for music and other traditions which are highly complex articulations of the

On the other hand how we think dance relates often very closely to how the
dancing body and the technology of dance are articulated, therefore there
isn't always such a great distance between dance and the discourse on dance,
which is why both have to be worked at.

Concerning the subversion of technology I was refering rather to "misusing"
industry software (or any kind of software or hardware), or simply using it
in forms that are probably different to what they were intended to do. I
guess it could indeed be called an extended technique.

> morphology (form, structure?) before content ... designing of
> designing, and the metarepresentational seem at odds to this.
> representation involves form and content, metarepresentation involves
> form and contents; many concepts from a single object. here form is
> secondary to what it (potentially) creates.

Form (body, anatomy, grammar, gesture, sign...)  is the sedimented effect of
communicating forces.
Form is not to be separated from what it communicates, since as effect of
sedimentation it contains the potentiality of the communicating forces and
contingencies that sedimented into it. But I propose to have as a focus the
specific transformation process that form is enduring (the forms music , of
dance, of the visual, how they hybridise and affect one another, being as
they are sedimented forms of long standing traditions).

> after-after-modernist. it doesn't work for me, nor does the gross
> oversimplification of postmodern into parody. turning from
> morphologies to morphogenesis (structural transformation,
> organisation?) is modernist. simulation has 'sense' as it is a
> 'scienticifc' truth (cognitive neuroscience), even many truths can now
> be modernist (quantum entanglement). modernist and postmodernist are
> features of modernity.

I guess latecapitalist digital culture does produce a very gross generalised
process of parodic simulations.
Morphogenesis (as I am using the term) is not a process of organisation, it
is the process of permanent emergence of form that never completely
sediments, it is also the awareness of the multiple processes and levels of
contingency through which the emergence and (temporary/uncertain)
sedimentation of forms happens.

In so far it has little to do with modernism since it does not go back into
the identification of any kind of gestalt or fixed setructure, rather it
opens up a field of transformation of forms that goes well beyond the
postmodernist play around verbal language.

Simulation has nothing to do with the truth, nor does cognitive
neuroscience: it is rather the reproduction of an assumed framework of
representations that has become naturalised and therefore hegemonic.

> dance is not easily aligned with linguistics: as the performance of a
> signifier, for the signified, which stands for a concept, that
> represents an object, motion is inherently meaningless. communication
> is the interpretation of a representation, getting caught up in
> meanings does not help us understand the object (motion).

I totally agrre with the idea that dance is not easily aligned with
Motion is a priori neither totally meaningless nor totally  meaningful.
Dance cannot be reduced to motion nor to the performance of a signifier.
As processes of embodiment dance and communication are indeed the excess of
"language" (of the reductionist representation of language as grammar,
syntax, etc.)

> but there are clear, if distributed schools of practice, who's members
> have a freedom to operate in multiple aesthetics. the specificity
> occurs in the body of  verbal and physical interaction.

I am speaking of a specificity of dance and technology, which we don't seem
to think that exists, beyond the shared enthusiasm and interest in exploring
the tools.

> to what industry are you referring? are you suggesting we must all
> make our own tools an implementations? what is the instrument, dance,
> technologies, both? they all have a culture, writing and language, it
> is the 'quality' of each aspect that should be questioned.

The industry I refer to is generally speaking the design and film/video and
music industry, with its different tools for video games, still images and
2d-3d moving images etc.

I do think it would be interesting to develop tools from the perspective and
specificity of each body.

The instrument/technology is the (dancer's)body and the hardware and the
software, and the way in which you "use" it, or its language.

Therefore the instrument/technolgy is also the dance (if we think of it as a
Dance "itself" would be the constant actualisation of the instrument (as
virtual or potential sedimeted form), and also its process of transformation
(since its forms are never fixed).

> why are we not adding to the 'scientific' / technological? HCI can be
> non deterministic and context sensitive. dance involvement in sci-art
> seems to be more about inspiration, rather than scientific discovery.

Context sensitivity is often equally problematic since it assumes the
"truth" about the simulation of the context and of the body.

If we want to challenge the divides between science and art methodologies
perhaps we need to stop putting into the box of inspiration everything that
science cannot explain, and equally open our "inspirations" (should we call
them thinking forces, affective intensities?? - or is that equally obscure?)
to other areas of thinking and research.

thanks for the feedback!

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