[dance-tech] Sensordance/ improvised / computational / conceptual

  • From: "Jaime del Val" <jaimedelval@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>, <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2006 01:36:42 +0200

Hi all, more of the second thread...

Trans-<<< If we focus on crafting the 'dance'
within dance & perf-tech is that developing dance-tech or expanding
post-modern/contemporary dance?>>

It should be both, if the crafting itself is not perfunctory (although focus
may be on either side).

Trans.<<At the time of writing we are unaware of a dance-tech work in which
movement and software/system creation (live coding/hacking) occur at
the same time. Yet a fully integrated dance & perf-tech improvisation
work should and would require this. We do not consider real-time
manipulation of variables (e.g. unstable landscapes, marlon
barrios-solano) to fall under this category.>>

Johan.<brilliant point.   (Yet), i think it is happening, i saw it this
summer in the Walhalla rehearsals, and i see it in other collaborative
design projects, but software writing and filming and choreographing cannot
not just happen at the same time, there are durational issues (development),
and especially also for the dancers writing / composing / editing with the
interface as they are being designed (i want to include also the designers
of the garments and the environments in which the responsive emergences

Now if I understand correctly the issue raised by transsubstatiation
regarding real time coding during the improvisation, do you expect this to
happen in the performance itself - you speak of live coding? I have only had
to do so in case of emergency, otherwise I think that generaly it is not too
recommended to touch the programming whilst it is functioning in the
performance, so the actual systems make it rather difficult to do something
like that. Is that what you mean?

Otherwise regarding feedback between software production and choreographing
for the last three years i am involved  in the development of an ongoing
performance and installation project (mophogenesis and thresholds) in which
i try to address the issue of feedbac between the creation of the instrument
and the creation of the languages (visual, musical, movement, iteraction
languages). Both transubstatiation and Johannes are right: there needs to be
total integration of the processes but at the same time it is not quite
possible, or feasible because of the specificity of each discipline. I guess
it is possible to a certain extent. To me there is a fundamental feedback
between the development of the system and the experimentation via
improvisation, and how this experimentation sediments in an eventual
choreography, or even a choreographic language, as well as how it sediments
into a more articulate form of the system/software/hardware. (Not that I
have quite managed to create such a totally trans-space of work-reserach,
but since now I am more into programming myself (with Max and not too much
in depth so far) I have the possibility to do this more flexibly, without
having to coordinate complex teams etc.)

We do talk sometimes about how the interactive environments affect
proprioception in a broad sense, in which case I assume that there is a
potential for discovering new kinds of movement and body awarenes, of body

If we want to explore this potential in depth I assume that the construction
of the instrument is essential in the process, and I remind you of the fact
that I consider the intrument to be not just the software and hardware, but
also the dancer's body, the space he/she moves in etc. It is more about the
feedback between different aspects of the instrument (again avoiding our old
dichotomy between dance and technology) and see it as aspects of the same
process, only then I assume can we discover in depth media specific
languages, even disciplines of dance and the body (and therefore new kind of

trans.<<<Although improvisation is based on a conceptual precept, it is not
conceptual dance 'per se' as one may disregard the performative
concept at any time. Where as in Improvisation the content (movement)
is an engaged, reflexive, adaptive  process, for conceptual dance it
is perfunctory. When we look to the software/hardware the development
process is conceptual and clearly systematic. The tools are developed
with a purpose/goal that is followed until completion, the aesthetics
of coding are rarely taken into account. Both software and hardware
are employed for a specific purpose rather than their
application/context emerging through each performance.

Johan.<<yes. this is very interesting as we rarely have discussed
contemporary conceptual dance here, and what state movement manifests in it.
(I never saw Dunn' s work)>>

 No matter how improvised an improvisation is... it is nevertheless the
result of a sedimentation process, it happens within certain frameworks.
Equally software and hardware need not be developed from the start according
to an un- changing concept: both can be seen as processes of sedimentation
in feedback with each other, this is at least the way in which I approach
the work and many platforms for interaction with sound and image make this
feedback quite possible allowing for changes in a rather accessible,
sometimes even straightforward manner. I like the idea of the ongoing
transformation (indeed morphogenesis) of the instrument, and never to
consider it as finished, in its structure.

On the other hand I would avoid dichotomies between the perfunctory
character of movement in conceptual dance vs. the engaged reflexive process
of improvisation. One could say that there is no conceptual dance "per se",
nor is there any improvisation "per se": there are neverending crossovers
and variations with no original matrix. In every improvisation the
sedimented practices of the body are in play, with all its conceptual levels
of association (depending on the kind and context of the improv.) equally,
when "performing concepts", when embodying the concepts, the improvisation
of the body is always at play, nothing whatsoever happens without it, like
in any kind of dance, music or theatre performance. Of course this doesnt
mean that we should through away the distinctions I am just suggesting to
make them more flexible. Apart from the interesting suggestion of Johannes
of inluding the engaged generative or adaptive process into the concept

Indeed in practice there tends to be a conflict between the more goal
oriented design of the software and the more open process of the
improvisation and rehearsal and choreographing, because the dichotomies are
after all articulating most of our technologies and practices (which is why
it would be so intereting to develop the technologies ourselves to a greater
extent). Redefining this framework  I see as one of our major challenges.


Jaime del Val
Instituto REVERSO
Aguila Real 24, 28232 Madrid, SPAIN
Tel.: (+34) 687 558 436

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