[dance-tech] Re: Sensordance, interactive game, webcam dramaturgy #2

  • From: "Johannes Birringer" <Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2006 23:51:35 +0100

Thanks for your response, Ludmila.

I am sure others will want to comment too, so here i just want to offer two 
brief self-critiques;

(1)  on the  theoretical/conceptual level, these forms of dancing with digital 
technologies are constituting a widening spectrum of new performance, and I 
just mentioned some "genres" of such work as these terms (e.g. sensor 
choreography, for example) draw attention to a particular mode of live 
composition or real time synthesis, as we would know it also from the fields of 
electronic music or interactive art using certain specific interfaces.  

I was trying to argue that new interface designs in live performance alter our 
older notions of dance and choreography. As they have altered our practical 
work. modes of composition, and modes of real time synthesis in live art. 

(for example, one would also need to distinguish, say, between a diptych or 
triptych video installation, such as Bill Viola's current "Love/Death: The 
Tristan Project",  which is based on edited digital film; and a triptych such 
as Stuart Simpson's "Formaggio Con Queso", which uses a generative algorithm to 
 randomly select the components of video, spoken word, soundtrack and ambience 
from the database and "wobbles" them;  and a wobbled triptych such as the one I 
described where the dancer moves the images and live-edits them from the 
interactive programmed data bases)........

(2)  on the semantic and pragmatic level,  your are quite right in raising the 
question of the contents or the "sense" of what it is the performance 

I have rarely seen a discussion here on this list about what the works mean and 
how they make sense and what kind of sense they make. 

We often tend to talk about "technical scripts" or the methods of using certain 
designs in performance, as we are weary of offering our own interpretations of 
what we think our works express.   

But you are asking about ideas and concepts behind or in the work, or conveyed 
by the work.  

I believe that we do tend to address our ideas and concepts in the particular 
compositions we choose to enact, and I think my reference to Troika Ranch ("16 
(R)evolutions") and to Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's "Cursive" was meant to raise 
questions about their visual and sense effect on us -- both dance works, 
indeed, construct worlds and tell stories -- which we cannot always say about 
pieces generated in the dance technology community.  In both works mentioned 
above the choreography is coherent and clear, I think, and completely developed 
with the scenograhic and/or digital visualisations as an organic whole.  Cloud 
Gate, in particular, is using a movement form and a kinetic expressivity which 
is closely, intimately, directly inspired by both calligraphy and martial arts 
(intermixed with ballet, modern dance movement, t'ai chi and Peking Opera 
styles), and the dance "writes" an emotional graphics, so to speak, which is 
very powerfully culturally located (in the ancient Chinese traditions of 
calligraphy as a visual and narrative art), thus also make a ;political 
statement,    as well as abstracted in the overall stage pictures of "flowing 
ink" or floating forms......, and thus thoroughly modernist.  To describe 
Troika Ranch's piece in modernist or postmodernist terms is more difficult. 
Their choreography is conventional, the transformational quality of live 
movement/digital visualization is eccentric, the humanist (evolutionary) ethos 
is supplanted by the posthuman technicity of the visual writing which is 
perhaps from the body but it is dis/sociative.  The virtual writing could be 
said to be telecommunicational, it has no culturally locatable context and is 
not subject to being contextualized, therefore categorized or conceptualized.

I could tell you more about "See you in Walhalla" and its movement language, if 
you asked me.  

As an aside,....... it seems to me that we are at an interesting point in time, 

the dance tech list is quiet lately, the urge to discuss technics and meanings 
of new dance works seems dormant.  

New writings in the dance scholarship arena?  hmmmm.   

"Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement" , by Andre 
Lepecki, (London: Routledge,2006)  leaves me quite cold, its obsession with 
melancholic solipsism in choreography and its favouring of the 
deconstructionist "still-acts" of Konzept-Tanz seem philosophically as far 
removed from our practice as the tired poststructuralist musings on "absence" 
and "presence" in  Gerald Siegmund: Abwesenheit:  Eine performative Ästhetik 
des Tanzes (Wetzlar: transcript, 2006).

Probably more provocative for our discussions might be two recent 
dissertations, which tend to address the new technologies of movement 
philosophically, practically,  and spiritually:

Olu Taiwo, "Interfacing with my Interface", PhD thesis, University of 
Southampton 2006. 
Sher Doruff': "The Translocal Event and the Polyrhythmic Diagram". (PhD thesis, 
University of London, 2006) Go to SD's website for the text 

Any responses to these writings?  

Johannes Birringer

-----Original Message-----
Hi all,

I am so interested in these questions,
but precisely in two ways,

in theoric writing or discussion sometime we need more definition
about some conceptions,
I am worried about to define what will be "sensordance",  "wearable dance",
"computing grafic dance", "interactive dance", "digital dance", "interactive 
digital dance",
maybe it is a so simple question,
but clarify some basic points always help me, as a teacher, or just writing,
there are some categories... some concepts...
probably each one of this list has a group of "concepts" to contribute...

the second,
I am always worried about to see continuosly a lot of technologies
possibilities in the stage, a lot of TVs, a lot of screens,
the choreographer wants to show your software
possibilities, or your webcams, or your sensors possiblities, whatever,
but the images, I mean the choreography, does not make any sense...
just explorating technologies, I think this is the misurderstanding...
I am not speak about linear or no-linear comprehension,

when we were building any performance,
?what we want to construct?
?what image?
?what concept?
?what idea?
?what do you want with it?
?or what is it that you created?

I can contribute more about "interactive digital dance",
and desire more answers of the members,

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