CriticalDance Forum

Dance and new technology
Page 1 of 1

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Apr 01, 2003 2:03 am ]
Post subject:  Dance and new technology

La La La Human Steps and Kaydara Virtualize Amelia Internationally-acclaimed Ballet Troupe
From Kaydara Broadcast Newsroom

MONTRÉAL, Mar. 31, 2003 -- Kaydara Inc. announced that internationally acclaimed Montréal-based ballet troupe La La La Human Steps used Kaydara ONLINE, a real-time 3D production system, to animate 3D dancers in Amelia, its latest contemporary ballet production. Kaydara worked in collaboration with La La La Human Steps artistic director and choreographer Édouard Lock to integrate 3D ballet dancers, movement, music, lighting and graphics into an innovative visual backdrop that is used throughout "Amelia."

click for more

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Apr 04, 2003 2:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance and new technology

My objection to dance technology has been -- and remains -- that's it's usually much more about technology than about dance.

Author:  lampwick [ Mon Apr 07, 2003 2:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance and new technology

In the case of this article, I think that's true. It was obviously written for the technology-minded reader as an announcement from Kaydara. There is little mention of artistic intent, other than a vague reference to present the "man and woman of today", whatever that's supposed to mean.

As with the case of most new art forms throughout history, there is a moment when artists are simply exploring the possibilities of a medium. I consider this exciting. Only history will tell which works are important (and often it's the works during an "experimental" or "revolutionary" stage). I *think* that the artwold has already moved past this in terms of computer-assisted, networked, created works. The novelty has worn off.

What is interesting to me about some of the writing and artwork which was done in the past twenty years or so, is how technology has inevitably become an extension of the body. There is the possibility of our neural pathways (electrical) to extend out of the body and into another sphere altogether. Our technology, both fictional and real, reinforces the notion of our networked identities and feelings of disassociation from our bodies. What better medium to explore these postmodern ideas in than dance?

Are you familiar with the work of Riverbed? They produced some interesting installations with Bill T. Jones and Merce Cunningham. In the "ghostcatching" installation, there was a true marriage of digital technology with the body. Pure movement itself was captured and transformed into a visual representation of the dancer.

Interesting questions arise about whether movement itself is independent of the body. It's like the record of movent left by a paintbrush and paint by an artist. There's the record of movement in a painting, the representation (if any) of an external object, the narrative of the subject matter, the narrative of the artist's process, and so on.

There's so many ways of reading a given work. Even in the most classical ballet, a viewer can concentrate on the technique of the dancers, the interplay of light and movement, the narrative structure of the story, or something else altogether. I think its unfair to dismiss digital works because the technology is new (although not so much anymore). I'm curious to know what you're referring to when you say "dance technology".

Watching the Riverbed/Bill T.Jones works is a truly awesome experience. It's about so much more than the medium/technique of motion capture itself. The work provokes so many questions about the nature of self possession, the purity of movement, gravity, light, space, one's soul.

Plus its just a damn cool experience--and the imagery is quite possibly something you've never seen before. It's strangely unfamiliar, but full of movement and sounds you can recognize.

There are too many concepts here to even express in words (and I simply don't have the time right now--I could go on forever), which is why I consider this to be a great work of art. AND I think that it's very much about the nature of dance itself.


Ghostcatching at Cooper Union[/url]

Merce Cunningham--technology

BTW--This post may be sort of strange in "Backstage"--but I had to....

<small>[ 07 April 2003, 04:31 PM: Message edited by: lampwick ]</small>

Author:  Azlan [ Tue Apr 08, 2003 1:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance and new technology

Lampwick, Bill T and Merce do come to mind as artists who are able to integrate technology without compromising the art. Here are some past relevant topics (there are more I think):

<a href=;f=11;t=000464 target=_blank>Dance & Technology</a>

<a href=;f=11;t=001331 target=_blank>New book on dance and technology</a>

<a href=;f=13;t=001046 target=_blank>Dance and Technology new book</a>

<a href=;f=17;t=000327 target=_blank>Dance and new technology</a>

<a href=;f=5;t=000127 target=_blank>Merce Cunningham's Summerspace, Interscape & BIPED and Video Technology</a>

<a href=;f=5;t=001498 target=_blank>merce cunningham interview(+glitch music and other arts using computers/technology)</a>

Author:  maria_technosux [ Thu Apr 10, 2003 11:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance and new technology


Go to the issues forum and read my piece about L3HS' use of avatars. I will repeat here a summary of what I said there: Amelia would have been perfect if it wasn't for the stoopid avatars looming over the heads of the dancers.

There is little mention of artistic intent, other than a vague reference to present the "man and woman of today", whatever that's supposed to mean.

This is an (indeed vague!) reference to the BalletTanz review of Amelia (nov or dec 2002 issue), where the reviewer waxed on about Amelia being about posthuman bodies and the promotion of the virtual lifestyle blah blah blah blah... Another reviewer used the term "bionic bodies".

I guess that all this talk of the super-bodies and the uber-bodies and whathaveyou goes back to the stereotyped image of the L3HS ballarina as hypermuscular (see also previous Streb thread) and L3HS supposedly promoting Western ideology concerning designable, makeable and managable uber-bodies. The use of avatars is a logical progression from this mode of thought. After all, nothing is more designable, managable and makeable than the body of an avatar (these people have never seen a BSOD).

What particularly pisses me off is that in Amelia, there is an undercurrent antagonism between the flesh-dancers (for a lack of better terms) and the avatars (I will not call these abominations "dancers"). As the text on the Kaydara site explains, Lock allowed one of his ballarinas to have her movement scanned, and the subsequent script was used to let the avatar "dance" - or rather some lame excuse of a dance cos the way the avatar dances is nothing like the way L3HS dancers dance. I guess that's why they've upgraded their software. ;)


Author:  maria_technosux [ Thu Apr 10, 2003 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance and new technology

Here is a short segment from the Ballettanz article:

"Amelia ... becomes as distant as a cyber girl, embodying the contemporary definition of luxury as artificial intelligence and intelligent art."

[can't get the url since it's a pop-up, the site is ]


Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group