We all have a sense of our body in the real world through our proprioceptive capacity – we are experts in movement as we are practised, we have a kinetic sense, but what of this sense of our body in virtual worlds? A core question of my research is how can we cultivate & integrate kinaesthetic intelligence into immersive environments?
One goal is to understand how we may move in and around virtual space, what this means to performance, choreography, the sensing body and audiences. I’m observing shifting perspectives of performance from player to visitor to performer in virtual environments. The research follows how we might transfer kinaesthetic awarenesses to audiences, through visualisations and participatory works. Artworks which involve site- specific installations, live simulations and interactive animations that encourage visitors to explore and experience through play. The aim is to examine whether these awarenesses enhance the immersive experience.
I am interested in figure and landscape, ancient and modern cultural heritage and in the coupling of embodied interaction and digital systems. Exploring playful interaction between physical and virtual ‘bodies’. Developing software to create interactive virtual environments that are kinaesthetically attuned & responsive to different modes of corporeality, offering scope for re-mixing – through consideration of the physically situated and uncultured body meeting the virtual avatar. Translating the physical, organic body across digital platforms extending and augmenting choreography.
My practice questions the role a dancer’s tacit knowledge has to play in the construction of virtual landscapes and human computer interface design. I’m grappling with how we navigate Virtual and Augmented realities and I am using motion tracking and performance capture techniques to study this. As a dance and visual artist at the interface of real and virtual worlds my research asks what do these spaces offer to the experienced performer and what physical spatial encounters and virtual architecture can be created to express this to the layman. To do this I gather together experts from different disciplines to create public art exhibitions and develop new software to examine mixed reality experiences. Performance is important in hypothesis building to investigate and understand more about presence through mediated exploration. There is an idea that the story exists in the experience of place itself not necessarily in a narrative about the place. I draw on experience of place, performing and filming in the field. Expeditions to endangered remote parts of the world including Oceania, Canada, Iceland & the Arctic Circle, has led to an investigation into body and landscape, the notion of space and simulacra and the sublime. I have been preoccupied with different forms of camouflaging MAN A & Summerbranch, the invisible visible and ephemerality of performance which has manifested as a re-materialisation of the digital, Big Bob. Current research investigates how choreography, coding and cultural narratives in New Zealand meet a somatic sensing in an interactive environment.
My current research project compares how people move together within different disciplines of dance, including Latin/Ballroom, contact improvisation, classical ballet, and contemporary styles. Through short-term, creative residencies with professional dance companies, including the Royal Swedish Ballet, Chicago Hubbard Street, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, and The Cambrians, as well as interviews with practitioners including Nancy Stark Smith (contact improvisation) and Vibeke Toft (Dancesport), I’ve been constructing a model of the different modes of partnering to highlight and better understand the practice of physical, visual, and energetic connection. So far, I have been focusing specifically on how biomechanics (such as sequencing, rolling point of contact, and lead/follow) are in tension with aesthetic values (shape/form). I am interested in understanding how this tension impacts core principles in coordinated movement between two or more people.
– Ilya Vidrin
Certain Bird Residency (Vermont, USA) — source material for Empress Archer (featuring Ariel Freedman and Meredith Webster)
I am just about to finish a three month residency at the Digital Catapult Centre, during which I have been looking at the circulation of dance ‘data’, in relation to questions of ownership, copyright and value. I worked with a small group of artists and companies to consider the practices, potentials and barriers of sharing and reusing dance online, and explored how the technologies and strategies for protecting creative content being developed at the Digital Catapult might support the dance community. The project has raised a wealth of practical and philosophical questions, which I am currently working my way through for two papers; one about the ownership of movement data, and another about copyright, community and the digital economy. Here is a link to the project blog: https://movingonlineblog.wordpress.com
– Hetty Blades
The choreography of our lives now happens in front of screens and in relationship to screens. I would like to propose a series of investigations that take this interstitial space – between human and screen – as a site for choreographic thinking and discovery. I am not interested in a critique of the human relationship to technology, but rather to draw attention to the rhythms, timings, and spaces of the ways in which we interface with screens. Indeed, this word – interface or “between faces” – speaks to the heart of this (proposed) research. What is the choreographic nature of this between?
Central to these various processes, possibilities and questions is the desire to contribute to how our understanding of the body – our bodies – is changing with the hyper-presence of mediated experiences. I would like to explore how these ideas can be distilled and communicated: as films, as conversations with artists/filmmakers/choreographers, and as workshops and presentations about independence, the body, and choreographing our lives on – and in front of – screens.
— Simon Ellis
Conduct is the activity of conducting (conduire), of conduction (la conduction) if you like, but it is equally the way in which one conducts oneself (se conduit), lets oneself be conducted (se laisse conduire), is conducted (est conduit), and finally, in which one behaves (se comporter) as an effect of a form of conduct (une conduite) as the action of conducting or of conduction (conduction) (Foucault 2007: 193).
I am currently finalising the writing of an article in which I address what I consider the problems and potentials of the dance economy in the contemporary neoliberal moment. Using Foucault’s thinking on the relationship between biopolitics, conduct and neoliberal governmentality, and Wendy Brown’s perspective on Foucault’s thinking, I examine how the conduct of the dance field is – in the different ways that Foucault is referring to it – affecting and affected by neoliberalism. To do so, I examine some of the problems of the dance economy in the contemporary moment as I, and other scholar-practitioners, have identified them, and address their relationship to neoliberalism – how they result from conducts suggested by neoliberalism or helping it do its work by becoming conducts of the field. I propose ways we might address them, suggesting that it is urgent that we do so. In many ways this article constitutes a critique of the contemporary dance economy; a critique that, by showing the relation of our conduct to conducts imposed by larger economies, aspires at articulating our role as central to both advancing the field and effecting social change.
Brown, Wendy. 2015. Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution. New York, NY: Zone Books.
Foucault, Michel. 2007. Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France 1977-1978. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.