[dance-tech] history of dance & technology

  • From: "Birringer, Johannes" <johannes.birringer@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 09:49:31 -0000

thanks to Richard Povall for adding a bit of clarification on the history of 
dance technology workshops/conferences and IDATs, it illuminates further the 
various trajectories of such
dance-technology gatherings  in North America and Europe, and the impact they 
must have had. 

I do find it helpful to know a bit about the history of how the field, or the 
communities  (now we have such cross-overs, it is hard to keep thinking of it 
as a monolithic or defineable "d & t" affair) constructed itself/themselves, 
how the practices and the research evolved, and it would be good to have 
additional information (when did the workshops at ASU start up, how long has 
OSU been involved and in what areas of this research, since initially I think 
the interest focused to some extent on notation and on videodance; how did the 
dance on film and videodance festivals link up with the other prarctices, or 
did they/in what manner? when did Boston Cyberarts and other digital/computer 
arts festivals like CYNET (Dresden), or even the larger events such as ars 
electronica or ISEA or SIGGRAPH involve dance and technology,  how did MDF 
(Moncao) enter the picture after 1999,   what are the trajectories in other 
geographical areas and continents, are these trajectories of interest to us, 
and to our colleagues in education? 

For example, i recently tried to remember when I first encountered a workshop 
that explicitly introduced digital dance or dance-making with software and 
computer tools (beyond multimedia work with cameras, monitors, film 
projections)?  In my case it was around 1994 or 1995, which is only just about 
10 years ago. When did LifeForms come out (1989?), when did we first work with 
BigEye (I can't remember, I think it was 1995) - and mind you, these are some 
interactive softwares we now consider ancient and perhaps, to a certain extent, 
obsolete.  What were the artistic milestones, dance works, films, 
installations, etc, which we remember along these trajectories....... 

and , now that we are talking about history (and we need to compose a better, 
up to date bibliography --  and thank you, Scott deLahunta, for sharing your 
writings with us, the many articles and reports on projects you have wrtitten 
form a considerable assett),  one could add more questions to see how these 
trajectories we are discussing have entered pedagogy and dance / performance 
training (or not)  --- for example, after 10 years of such history, how many 
dance schools do you know that include teaching Max/Msp/Jitter and Isadora in 
their composition classes?  Or when dance students study the old tapes (perhaps 
most schools still use VHS tapes, no?) to analyse choreography --  are they 
given opportunities to study new dance works that were composed with computer 
tools, augmented reality, VR or motion capture data, networked/telematic works? 
are there even any criteria with which to study choreography generated through 
new software tools?  (no mention, almost no mention of such dance works, for 
example, is made in the fabulous book by Judy Mitoma (with Elizabeth Zimmer, 
Dale Ann Stieber, eds),  Envisioning Dance on Film and Video (New York: 
Routledge, 2002). But a lot of emphasis on such new work is given in the 
Anomalie digital_arts  series published in France,  and perhaps you know of 
other examples of an emerging literature on these subjects.   Finally, as we 
mentioned dance and science, and the recent cross-disciplinary experiments in 
dance and neuroscience, how have these trajectories entered education and our 
schools and research centers?  What is happening in such exciting, innovative 
research "combines" (i like this term, i think Rauschenberg first used it) such 
as the Hexagram in Montréal?  Talking about trajectories, i wonder how the 
lines and threads were running between Vancouver, Banff, Montréal ?  

Surely the golden globe award for the most evocative title of a research 
program goes to Bahia, where Ivani Santanta works:  
Research Group for Technological Poetics in Dance
Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Human Body
Dance School
University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia,  Brazil

Johannes Birringer
Houston, TX

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