Shifting Interfaces: art research at the intersections of live performance and technology
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This collection of published works is an outcome of my practice-led inter-disciplinary collaborative artistic research into deepening understanding of creative process in the field of contemporary dance. It comprises thirty written works published from 1999 to 2007 in various formats and platforms. This collection is framed by a methodological discussion that provides insight into how this research has intersected over time with diverse fields of practice including contemporary dance, digital and new media arts and non-art domains such as cognitive and social science. Fields are understood in the context of this research to be largely constituted out of the expert practices of individual collaborators. This research starts from an interest in the Impact of new media technologies on dance making/ choreography. The collection of works show evidence, established in the first two publications, of an evolving engagement with two concepts related to this interest: (1) the 'algorithm' as a process-level connection or bridge between dance composition and computation; (2) the empirical study of movement embedded as a 'knowledge base' in the practices of both computer animation and dance and thus forming a special correspondence between them. This collection provides evidence of this research through a period of community-building amongst artists using new media technologies in performance, and culminates in the identification of an emerging 'community of practice' coming together around the formation of a unique body of knowledge pertaining to dance. The late 1990s New Media Art movement provided a supportive context for Important peer-to-peer encounters with creators and users of software tools and platforms in the context of inter-disciplinary art-making. A growing interest in software programming as a creative practice opened up fresh perspectives on possible connections with dance making. It became clear that software's utility alone, including artistic uses of software, was a limited conception. This was the background thinking that informed the first major shift in the research towards the design of software that might augment the creative process of expert choreographers and dancers. This shift from software use to its design, framed by a focus on the development of tools to support dance creation, also provided strong rationale to deepen the research into dance making processes. In the second major phase of the research presented here, scientific study is brought collaboratively to bear on questions related to choreographic practice. This lead to a better understanding of ways in which dancers and choreographers, as 'thinking bodies', interact with their design tools and each other in the context of creation work. In addition to this collection, outcomes of this research are traceable to other published papers and art works it has given rise to. Less easily measureable, but just as valuable, are the sustained relations between individuals and groups behind the 'community of practice' now recognised for its development of unique formats for bringing choreographic ideas and processes into contact, now and in the future, with both general audiences and other specialist practices.
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