[dance-tech] fighting exhaustion in the post-choreographic filibuster

  • From: Anthony Schultz <dance_plan@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2008 12:37:32 -0700 (PDT)


Johannes, I think you are right, there is an exhaustion, but I cannot resist 
the compulsion to help you clarify things.

You ask "how one choreographs for/in a real-time fluid interactive 
environment"?  Do you mean as a designer or performer or both as your 
slash-word "for/in" indicates?  The ambiguity is cute but unnecessary.

Can we not think of the impresario who assembles all of the dancers in the 
space (with the media and garments and such) the choreographer?  This "thing" 
did not come together by itself.  It was put together.

Why the compulsion to blast choreography with the prefix "post-" rather than 
just expand its meaning?

It is the compositio, putting together, that determines the boundaries of the 

I understand that there are mini-compositions  (putting togethers) inside of 
your composition.  That is good.  The performers have some autonomy.  This is 
good too.

It is my humble opinion to really fulfill the claims of post-choreography and 
real-time composition we need performers who are doing what you did when you 
"put together" the dance.  This includes building the machine, not just dancing 
in it.

I think I remember a thread a few years ago indicating this realtime 
coding/dancing would be, to use Rodriguez's term, "the most awesome-est 
dance-tech piece ever."  Does anyone remember this or or have any ideas on how 
we could accomplish such a thing?


Tony Schultz

Johannes Birringer <Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: 
hello all

Jeannette's last reply left me with little imagination to respond, perhaps 
hmmm, because i felt the wording had become too encumbered with the cited 
theories (Kroker, Deleuze,Benjamin, Simmel, etc) but maybe there is also an 
exhaustion effect now, after the longer debate we've had.

to go back to an original motivation for asking questions about how one 
choreographs for/in a real-time fluid interactive environment , 
and whether performance in mixed/hybrid environments -- where humans learn to 
perform with or adapt to systems performances that are alive, semi-autonomous 
and semi-unpredictable-- constitutes a different dimension of the 

my initial quest was simply generated by observation and practice in rehearsal 
with dancers/performers wearing sensors and interacting with avatars or 
"scenes" (image movements, animations, graphics, 3D worlds and environments) in 
a flow that was also open to "interruptions" of the contexture by webcasts and 
web streams coming in from "outside" so to speak.  I asked whether such work 
(mostly gestural and of course involving whole body movement and expressions 
inter-acting with screening projections) needs specific performer training and 
then specific practice-experience in real-time enactment playing these 
instruments (virtual instruments), the sensors that generate data and transmit 
them to software / computational environments where the data are analysed and 
then manipulated for immediate outputs.  

It would be nice to hear more from sensor programmers and designers on this 
matter also. 

The adaptation in real time to a constantly (potentially) real-time organising 
system, in my suggestion back in 2006, required a improvisational spontaneity, 
dexterity and virtuosity specifically geared to the sensorial interface (which 
in 2007 was transposed in our work into the designer garments) and at the same 
time to a dramaturgical sensibility of cohesively "express" or enact with the 
system or adapt/co-evolve with the system. 

This system, in my thinking, was no longer the choreographic one,  and one that 
relied on repeatability and sustainability (and a particular precision and 
timing often required when dance is choreographed to music and in spatial 
patterns and sequences, lines, duets, trios, etc), but simply provoked a 
different sensibility which, i wondered, had larger implications (touching on 
many of the issues raised since, including Jeannette and Nathanial's marvellous 
writings on the "en-fleshed machine" and her experience of performing multiple 
selves or a kind of multiplicitous synaesthetic becoming). 

The implications go back, on the basis of my question, to 

1) practice and performer technique, namely how dancers or actors or singers 
work with
"control systems" and real time compositional frameworks which, in the case of 
articulations with wearables/sensors, 
can be highly unreliable and complex  (one tuned system working today might be 
out of tune tomorrow, changing data flow and data values and how these affect 
the environment we, peformers and audiences, perceive) and yet primarily 
sensorial/sensual and thus affective on levels not necessarly "trainable" for 
calculated expression/effect.   

(PS.  Heide Lazarus in Dresden is doing very interesting work on historical 
analysis of Mary Wigman's technologies [Wigman often being understood as 
working from the emotional-emphatic and mystical core rather than a clear 
conceptual dance technology ]...... the terms "technology" and "technique" 
having a complicated affair here in regard to training / apparatus,  and to 
dance philosophies)  and also on current interactive dramaturgical systems for 
performer-audience interfaces which, again, seem not quite coverable by the 
notion of the choreographic)

 and 2) to perception systems,    and thus also to the incorporation of machine 
vision or AI into our post-choreographic processes , working with human 
enactment  (i very much hesitate to think of us clearly only as puppets or 
cyborgs, however much I love Kleist, and find Artaud's notion of the body 
without organs misleading)  and explorations of fluid real- time systems that 
include autonomous agents and creatures and sounds and projections and objects 
performing with the interactors.

Johannes Birringer

(this link shows the dance tech net  reposting of the debate and its threads)

Hi all and J'aime

Your post seems like a call for strategies of survival of being cyborgs and
zombies. It reflects "the confession of all the humanoids, of beings half
flesh/half metal, who, speaking from within the closed, liquid textuality of
technology, ruminate longingly, and romantically, on a past in their
telematic future." Arthur Kroker Deleuze and Guattari: Two Meditations - The
Posessed Individual. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.

>we have never been fully in control of
> ourselves...What we need to pay much attention to are the implicit
> mechanisms of control,
> the technologies that are defined with the purpose of making us into
> zombies at the service of
> market driven forces whilst we believe in free will and autonomous agency.

>The posthuman-postself-postchoreographic, is perhaps an attempt to do away
> with the fiction of the subject as an entity in selfcontrol, it is an
> attempt to make explicit all the implicit structures and technologies of
> power that make us into zombies before we have the possibility to realise
> it... in order to open up the possibilities to redefine "ourselves" as
> bodies beyond the naturalised assumption of subjectivity and aware of the
> fact that we are never under definitive control of anything whatsoever in
> "ourselves".

Or perhaps we should adopt the practice of Psychogeography ie. to explore
their environment without preconceptions, to understand our location, and
therefore our existence. Walter Benjamin adopted the concept of the urban
observer both as an analytical tool and as a lifestyle. (Sourced from
Wikipedia). He was a self confessed flâneur and as such participated in the
derive. Benjamin thus played a double role in city life and in theory, that
is, while remaining a detached observer. This stance, simultaneously part of
and apart from, combines sociological, anthropological, literary and
historical notions of the relationship between the individual and the
greater populace.The flâneur's tendency then is toward detached but
aesthetically attuned observation.

So if we see the site of postchoreograpy as a new landscape within which to
perform we need to observe and participate at the same time whilst not
feeling being "leveled down and worn out by a social-technological
mechanism." (Georg Simmel "The Metropolis and Mental Life")

Or perhaps we should "recognize as well the deep affinity between feminism
and the rhizomatic perspective of Deleuze and Guattari. For what has
feminist theory always been about if not a refusal of the grand metaphysics
of Being, of the unitary male subject, of the phallocentric order of the
Subject, Species, and Membership; in favor a world of "multiplicities," of a
dancing materiality of lines of flight and departure; of a world reenchanted
by the language of desire? Not the old boring world of phallocentric
oppositions, but liquid doublings where the body finally speaks, where
alchemy is the rule, and where the terrestrial kingdom of grounded
consciousness - the vegetative spatiality of the rhizomatic network -
finally usurps abstract univocal perspective." Kroker


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