[dance-tech] history of dance & technology

  • From: "Birringer, Johannes" <johannes.birringer@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 00:18:35 -0000

This discussion on the history ...  is quite exciting to me, for various 
reasons 
(one of them being that I am finishing a book on "Dance Technologies", which 
was meant to look at the present and at how we work now, what ideas and 
practices are emerging,
how do we understand these notions of the digital, the interactive, augmented 
reality, etc,  it was not meant to delve too much into the history of the 
""Periodic
Convergences: Dance and Computers"  sketched, for example,  by Scott deLahunta, 
  but after these comments we have received, and Simon's, Kirk's and Philippe's 
statements, I begin to wonder whether an introductory outline or reflection on 
these strands and convergences (even prior to the more recent emergence of what 
Lev Manovich called the "language of new media", the digital, art made from 
data bases, etc) might not be really useful, even essential to grasp the 
evolution of dance and technology experiments.

Before i come back to the subject, a brief comment on Simon Biggs' post 
regarding
the  Sydney/Macquarie University - Workshop on
Interactive Systems in Performance.

<<<<<
Of course during this aspect of the symposium I was thinking of Scott's work
with Random at Cambridge, with its emphasis on neuropsychology and notation.
The main thing here is that we are not just talking about the hybridisation
of the utility of our practices (that is, the adoption of new tools and
technologies along with some of the methodologies associated with their
origins) but a situation where profoundly distinct disciplines are being
brought together. The outcome of this might eventuate in further new
technologies and approaches, but more importantly there are the likely
questions raised about value and purpose...questions that often demand
fundamental revision of established practices. Personally it is when I feel
challenged in this way that things start to look exciting.>>>>


Quite so.  I really begin to sense  that the rapprochement between dance 
research
and science is qualitatively different from simple dialogue or hybridization
(or what is often refered to as "interdisciplinary research), and it raises 
many questions.

After we published the Yearbook last year (in Germany)
on "Tanz im Kopf/ Dance and Cognition," (2005)  i was asked by ballettanz 
(Berlin) to do a feature on
this new research and where it is going, and I began to realize that    1) i 
don't know enough about the 
methods and objectives of  researchers in neuroscience and the cognitive 
science fields,
and    2) I cannot fully ascertain or speculate on the mutual benefits the 
joint research will have for the
neuroscientists on the one hand (and the medical field), and creative dance 
practices or dance / digital media research (pedagogy,
education, experimentation) on the other.  

When my writing comes out next month, I will provide a link to
the essay (we are also reprinting an excerpt from the book, Corinne Jola & Fred 
W. Mast
"Dance Images Mental Imagery Processes in Dance",  and just recently the latest 
research from
this field was published: Steven Brown/Michael J. Martinez/ Lawrence M. 
Parsons: "The Neural Basis of Human Dance", 
Cerebral Cortex (doi:10.1093/cercor/bhj057, 2005), 

and reading Brown/Martinez/Parsons was a complicated task, as I am not
familiar with the assumptions that guide the questions of the experiment (not 
to mention the PET scan methodology and how to "read" the scans of the brain
activity during the subject's enactment of the tango steps) . Looking at the 
research findings carefully, however, one can certainly realize the current 
interest
in motor activities.
Likewise,  William Forsythe and Ivar Hagendoorn convened an international 
symposium on "Dance and the Brain" (Frankfurt 2004) which revealed the extent 
to which neuroscientific investigation, for example of the motor repertoire and 
the recognition of possible or "impossible movement" (Julie Grèzes) is based on 
neuroimaging technologies (PET, fMRI) which historically seem to evolve 
alongside very sophisticated digital tools and  scanning/capturing techniques 
choreographers recently began to use for sensory "measuring" of action and 
qualities of gesture. 
And here the fields do meet in a productive exchange, and one, as Simon points 
out, that gives us much to think about as we continue, perhaps, to use a more 
multi-sensory/multimodal
(not just perceptual) investigation of bodies in movement.

Johannes Birringer






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