During the last fifteen years or so (I mark the start for myself with Software for Dancers 2000-03), Sarah and I have worked with many collaborators from different fields on projects seeking to document and share aspects of the creative work of dance artists, including Sue and Jonathan, Bebe Miller, Deborah Hay, Wayne McGregor, Bill Forsythe, Emio Greco | PC, etc. The results many of you will be familiar with include the RePlay project with Sue and the Motion Bank on-line scores (including Jonathan and Matteo). These projects focused on what digital tools and practices could bring to this work. Collaboration with cognitive psychologists, including Phil Barnard, has provided many insights into how to think about and open up making processes. In 2008-09, we shared a research platform called Choreographic Objects with a social scientist some of you know James Leach. One of the contributions of this platform was to draw attention to these projects as forming the basis for a new community of practice. Since 2000, software practice in the arts has evolved significantly, giving rise to a community of artist/ coders sometimes called ‘creative coders’. This has reshaped how we might approach computation less as a means of making tools or ‘interfaces’ for users and more as a form of creative writing and thinking (see the mission statement for the School of Poetic Computation). This opens up new possibilities for imagining connections between dance and data, elaborated on some by Florian Jenett and me in this conversation with Franz Anton Cramer. With these notions of community and new dance-data connections in mind, we are working to establish something called (for now) the Dance Documentation & Digitisation (D3) Research Environment. We hope to involve as many of you who are interested as possible. More information will be out soon.
– Scott deLahunta
Piecemaker2 (PM2) annotation software. On Video: Jeanine Durning performing her adaptation of ‘No Time to Fly’ by Deborah Hay. Based on Piecemaker originally developed by David Kern, The Forsythe Company. Reprogrammed by Motion Bank. Screenshot: Florian Jenett.