[dance-tech] Re: history of dance & technology

  • From: Kirk Woolford <phred@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 13:28:06 +0000

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.......

In any history of "Digital Dance", you really should include Terry Braun's "Digital Dancing" workshops which I believe ran from 1995-1998. It started while Terry was working with Illuminations as Illumination Interactive, then Terry took it with him when he formed Braunarts. I know he was working on a DVD back in 2003, but I have never seen a copy of it.

In 1996, Terry was invited to run a version of Digital Dancing in Rotterdam together with DEAF98 (V2) and Lantaren Venster. Terry was too sick to participate, so the event evolved into "Future Moves" run initially by Dick Hollander of Lantaren Venster together with Klazien Brummel and Tanja den Broeder. Further versions of Future Moves have appeared sporadically in Rotterdam.

The greatest difficulty you will have drawing up a history of "Digital Dance" is in deciding what technologies count as digital. Yacov and Diane Gromala's "Dancing with the Virtual Dervish" in 1993 was definitely digital, but was was Benoît Maubrey's Audio Ballerinas in 1990? Were Kit Galloway's and Sherrie Rabinowitz's Satellite Arts performances in 1977 digital? There is a much older and stronger history of Dance and Technology of which "Digital Dancing" forms a relatively new chapter.

As far as digital dance entering the main stream and crossing over into other festivals, two milestones come to my mind. Dumb Type performing *OR* at Ars Electronica in 1997 and Cunningham and Riverbed's "Hand Drawn Spaces" at SIGGRAPH in 1998.



Kirk Woolford

Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts
Lancaster University  LA1 4YW

+44 (0)1524 593172

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