dancers (7)

WANTED: FEMALE ACTORS with movement skills or DANCERS with

acting skills, FOR ELENA BAJO'S PERFORMANCE With Entheogenic

Intent (Burn the Witch) AT 18TH STREET ARTS CENTER, LOS



The piece is created by Elena Bajo, a visual artist who has exhibited

internationally and focuses on the social, political aspects of the site in the

city of Los Angeles. Bajo combines performance with large scale

installations to investigate the political and social conditions of change in

post-industrial structures, creating site specific work and a space of

collective action.

The performers will be required to perform in the space of 18th Street Arts

Center. They will be required to do both improvised and choreographed

script/movements determined before hand with the artist. The generator

of the piece is a political text/poem. This political text-manifesto will be

handed to the performers and it will be used to generate their individual

script/choreography. Total duration of the performance around 20 min.


3 days, total: 2 days (1h/day) one on one individual work with the

artist and 1 day (1h/day) run-through in the space with all performers

If you are interested in this project please send ASAP an email to including a web link to video file where your work

can be seen , one image and a brief bio/cv. Express very briefly why you

want to participate in the project. You will be contacted by email to

proceed forward. If you don't have a link to video online let me know and

Ithe artist would send you a text fragment to prepare something short 1-2

min that you could record in Skype or video camera or iphone.

For your participation you will receive a small fee, copy of video footage

and photos of the performance as well as credits in the program. This is

an event widely advertised and expected to be a good exposure. Please

only apply if you are interested in being part of an experimental piece,

outside of the comfort zone, that is the spirit of this project.

More information about Elena Bajo’s work:

Read more…

WANTED: 3 FEMALE ACTORS with movement skills or DANCERS with acting skills, 

FOR ELENA BAJO'S PERFORMANCE AT FORT DU BRUISSIN, LYON (FRANCE) 11th and 13th of September, within the framework of the Lyon Biennial

-3 female actors (the performance will be in French)  to be a part of an experimental piece, outside of the 'comfort zone' in an art exhibition space in Lyon


The piece is created by Elena Bajo, a visual artist who has exhibited internationally and focuses on the social, political aspects of the site in the city of Lyon. Bajo combines performance with large scale installations to investigate the political and social conditions of change in post-industrial structures, creating site specific work and a space of collective action.

The performers will be required to perform in the space of Fort du Bruissin (Lyon). They will be required to do both improvised and choreographed script/movements determined before hand with the artist. The generator of the piece is a political text/poem. This political text-manifesto will be handed to the performers and it will be used to generate their individual script/choreography. Total duration of the performance around 20 min. 


2  days, 1 hour/day individual work with the artist and 1 day (1 hour) run-through in the space with all the performers

If you are interested in this project please send me an email to  including a web link where I can see your work and a brief bio/cv. Express briefly why you want to participate in the project. You will be contacted by email to proceed forward. If you don't have a link to video online let me know and I would send you a text fragment to prepare something short 1-2 min that you could record in Skype or video camera or iphone.

You will receive  dvd video footage and photos of the performance as well as credits on the program.  The greatest reward of this project lies in that you're interested in the experience. This is an event widely advertised and expected to be a good exposure.

More information about Elena Bajo’s work you can find in her webpage:

Read more…

20th Workuba 2013, February, Havana, Cuba

20th Workuba 2013, Havana, Cuba (International Modern & Afro-Latin Dance Workshop)

February 9 – 17 / 2013

Workuba brings together the various dances of the Americas that have their roots in traditional African rhythms and dance, and blends these influences with Modern Dance, which the Program considers to be the key elements of the "complete dancer". Workuba makes the difference! We offer you a unique opportunity to experience modern dance with a latin flavor in a workshop that has as its historical setting Havana City.
Location: America Theatre, 253 Galiano Ave. Centro Habana, Havana, Cuba.

GENERAL DIRECTOR: Ms. Marta Bercy (Modern & Afro-Cuban dance Master)

Classes to be offered in the Workuba Latin Dance Workshop:

Afro-Cuban Folklore, Rueda & Cuban Salsa, Modern Dance, Ballet, Cuban Rumba, Tango and
Milonga, Hip-Hop, Salsa Los Angeles.
PERFORMING ARTS WORKSHOP: Theatre and Voice and Diction.
CLASSES SCHEDULES: (Every Day) 9:00am to 12m/ 1:30pm to 4:00pm.

FINAL PERFORMANCE: February Sunday 17 – 5:00pm, America Theatre.


FEES: 300. U$D. The participation fee includes Workshops, Performances and Certificate.
REGISTRATION: Saturday February 9 from 8:30a.m. to 10:00a.m - America Theatre.

Hotel Reservation: Ms: Estrella Medina –

Workuba Representative in Cuba: Ms. Maria Elena Monet - (+537) 832-8770

Marta Bercy
General Director
4534 Corrientes Ave. Buenos Aires City. Argentina.
Tel: (+ 54 911) 4504- 4115


Read more…


The next audition for the professional course with Ballet Junior will be held on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2012.

This audition is aimed at young dancers between 17 and 23 years old.

An excellent level in ballet and contemporary dance is required as well as an interest in today's choreographic world.

More information on our website.


Read more…
Back in October I spoke with Thomas Dumke about CYNETart Festival and performative arts in the context of new media art. Our conversation was possible thanks to Sonja Lebos from, Association for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Research, based in Zagreb. Sonja's organization is deeply rooted in architecture, urbanism and new media art.

Thomas Dumke with the background by Monolake Live Surround Taken from

Thomas then gave a lecture in the net club Mama about the history of Festspiel Haus Hellerau, Trans-Media-Akademie Dresden and the festival.Thomad Dumke studied history and sociology from 1997–2002 at TU Dresden, postgraduate in culture & management. Since 1999 Thomas Dumke is part of the international festival for computer based arts CYNETart in Dresden, in 2000 he initiated together with the »microscope session«, an event for audio-visual concerts, founding member of TMA Hellerau in 2001, from 2006 he has been the director of the CYNETart festival. He is a member of the artist collaborative

Let’s start with the concept of your festival CYNETart… I find it very interesting and slightly different in comparison with other media art festivals, because you didn’t give up from the body…TD: The Trans-Media-Akademie organizes annually the CYNETart Festival and we understand media art more as a research approach and within this we are focused more on the changes of our perception and self image of our movement or our body feeling in relation to ongoing mediation and mediazation processes.We are interested even in our relation with the human environment. This is somehow our, lets say, scheme or issue. If we have this scheme for body and space relation or our body environment relation, the question is how we can use media technology to make us aware of this relation? There are also somehow rational aspects, because we are using objects with technology. It’s not esoteric, para-psychological or whatever.

Jacob Korn and his Harmony Universe (c) Taken from

It’s cybernetics! It means that everything is provable. But we think that we can use technology to make things experienceable or sensible, what in normal case is not experienceable. We are trying to establish with our CYNETart Festival a platform to present a different kind of performative installation works or even stage performances. We have also workshops and club events for the younger audience.So, it’s also a community oriented festival, because it seems that you want a reaction by the audience?TD: Yes! This is also very important. We don’t want to be hermetically closed for the audience. That’s what we are really trying to achieve within Tele-Plateus project where we would like to establish virtual environments, interactive environments in the public space.Tele-Plateus should function in that way with a public stage, or even something like a star gate for other cities. Virtual environments should be connected to each other, to give the citizens of these cities the possibility to interact with audio, sound and visual elements. Somehow, this is an abstract way, nothing like Skype connection or so. Today, you can make face to face connections like on TV.

Photo: mb21 backup taken from t-m-a

We are really trying to stay at some abstract level, because we know from previous experiences that when you hear and focus on one point, then you are able to activate your potential imagination. I mean, literally I don’t know you, but I have got the feeling of you…If I have a contact with your shape or with your sound, maybe I don’t know you, but your are on remote and I have a contact with your generated sound. And you are interacting with my sound, too. This is this point, we meet each other on the sound level and the task for the audience or the composer is to give a set up of one environment, which should be easy going or just easy approachable to have this kind of experience.Experience in which I am with somebody, but for instance three people with me projected in one space, of course this is hyperspace and it’s only in mind. It’s not for real, because all scales and environments are on different places and in that particular time, if you are active with each other, we are sharing one space, and this is sound space and the space in your head.

Mortal Engine by Chunky Move (c)

I’m glad that you mentioned just now this important aspect of hyperspace in the context of perception or mental space, lets say colloquially ‘in the head’…TD: Yeah, yeah. Even the whole process that is going on at the moment, if we really observe the internet natives, these new generations that are going up… My experience was like this, if you met somebody offline. Let's say it in terms of online and offline reality. There are totally different intentions in real life, a totally different way of perceiving things. That’s sometimes funny for me, but it does not have to be funny for other person.

Ballettikka Internettikka (c)

Even if you are in the relationship with somebody who is not online, she or he can’t understand what you are doing all the time. This is a thing in our cognition process, what Marshal McLuhan have postulated in the 60’s. This global village metaphor which is now happening… From the mental point of view, the fact that we are all coming together is based on television, online life and social media thing. This got somehow real, this webness and activities…Of course, and this urge to be connected… and the feeling when you are offline that something important is happening online, and you are not there to see it or try it… sometimes it’s haunting… How do people react to you concepts?TD: We have got mostly positive responses to what we do. I think, it’s always a decision of their own, if they got it right, if they understood this abstract level of sound and visual aspect. Somehow, we are all conditioned by Hollywood and totally illusionary media worlds that have to be colourful and more real then real in details. What we are doing is totally opposite. We use the senses with sound with an aim to make an impact, but a real one. Also, it gives you a chance to put there your own stuff according to things you actually perceive and receive.

Jacob Korn Live AV with hypecycle (c), taken from

For instance The 'Schlamp' installation by Frieder Weiss and Emily Fernandez has opened pretty interesting discussion on computer games, does it make a difference if I’m shooting on a real person or 'real character' that looks more like a real body? Or maybe I’m only shooting on black square or an abstract thing. I think that in a psychological way or mentally it makes no difference. Our neurons and brain have the same neuro-electric processes whether we are shooting digitally or for real.We had interesting experiences while presenting installations where people were projected on the street or on the floor. After some time passers would start to jump or trying to hit digitally projected people. They just kicked them out and showed that they don’t have respect for the virtual re-presentation because it’s not real. I think, this case shows the current issues even if you look to finance market. It’s raising up on the virtualization of the world.

Chunky Move (c)

Why the market has collapsed? Because there is no relationship to the real world. Like in the past we had the relation to the material world, like gold used to be in the past. It was like a never ending game. How we are dealing with this virtual reality thing? Is it a quite similar world? For instance, we are jumping faster but in the music industry, actually everything is the same, there are terms like sharing, copy right and so… The question is what is this virtual world? Why we are sharing so simple, because we can digitally re-produce things quite simple. We do not care about copyright anymore.

Photo: tma (c) taken from bodynavigation

I’m still buying vinyl, because I are really like music, but I can’t share or copy this vinyl. So, it’s something that has this aura thing which I think is increasingly present lately, to experience things in our real environment. A good aspect of virtual environment is that you can’t reproduce a video, a record or a CD, but you have to experience it by yourself.In the same category we can discuss on watching interactive dance, because dancer can experience this interaction but the audience not. Dancer is inside and the audience is not. This is one quality aspect and it has some kind of aura. This self experience can be in local virtual environment or in networked virtual environment. This is new, it could be development and comprehend.

Photo: Zeitgeist by Hjørdis Kurås

But the whole story is pretty much based on performative aspects, dance...TD: It’s based on performance. Actually, we don’t like to work with dancers, we have a local school in Dresden and there are lots of dancers. The thing with dancers is that they are educated somehow in the direction of the quality of movements, release techniques, different dancing techniques and so. You know, it looks like Forsythe or it looks like something else. Of course, there are different types of new students coming to the new repertoire and they would like to test generated sound and visuals.Usually, they are coming with all the movements they have learned in school and they don’t listen to the sound or just react to this base, which is a mistake. But, what is happening during this processes? If you have a feedback effect or closed circles you are inside this instrument, and inside this environment you have to react to each other.

Do androgyns dream of electric sheep by An Kaler, dancer: Gregory Holt

Sure, it's not important what dance technique you're using, but the way you comprehend movement as it is...TD: It doesn’t make sense if you make a ‘William Forsythe movement’ because the instrument and your environment don't know that. Hence, it doesn’t recognize that. The instrument recognizes your movements, intensity or something like jumping. But, it doesn’t recognize the special quality of typical dance forms. I don’t like to work with professional dancers because you have to push away this conditioned way of how to move through space.There is no sense to do some technique in such environment. This is our approach. You have to experience by yourself and you have to use it like an instrument. Even piano players use different interpretations, especially in comparison with Jimmy Hendrix and the way how he used electric guitar.

Photo by: Matthias Härtig/TMA Hellerau taken from flickr

It’s different and at the other hand it’s the same in performing arts and in fields where you have to think on how to move. Even sometimes children or common people are much better for that, because they are free minded to do it. They don't think something like Oh, I'm not doing this right or I don’t act like this! But, because they do spontaneous things and even then, slowly and by listening, step by step they can get the felling on how to move or to figure out the environment. It’s very important to get the feeling how it is inside. What is happening when I move and what's the feedback I got. ‘When I’m shouting in the wood it always come back to me’ principle is similar to electronic interactivity.You mentioned before William Forsyth… He is very connected with the city of Dresden…TD: Since 2006 he has his residency in Dresden. Something like a special cultural policy contract among the cities of Frankfurt and Dresden with the states of Hessen and Saxony. These four partners finance the Forsythe Company. Three or four times per year he comes to Hellerau in order to work with dancers.

Synchronous Objects by William Forsyth

What do you think about his data visualization project Synchronous Objects? I was really surprised when I saw it...TD: Oh, you mean his improvisation project… His method is more about archiving. His technology DVD is more about how the Forsyth method is working. He chose one of his performances One Flat Thing to show it on the internet. It’s totally complex documentation, notation and interpretation of his choreography and performance. It’s amazing, but it’s archiving.The other aspect that I haven't experienced yet is the use of technology in his stage work. I mean, I saw what he was doing with the sound manipulations. He was influenced by neuro-science and he took the idea of what is going on in neuro science to re-adapt it into his dance pieces.

Cynetart 2009, Automatic Clubbing taken from flickr

Where do you see CYNETart festival in comparison with the similar European festivals and what kind of opportunities artists can have within your framework?TD: I would say that we are really unique because we are really focused on this concept of performing arts combined with new technologies. We are not doing only exhibitions and public events like workshops, screenings and so. We are interested in the working processes not only in single, produced and ready for the market art piece.We want our guests to demonstrate their working processes and stuff like that, but at the same time to get in contact with the audience.This is really important. We like when these sides, artists and the audience exchange their position. That means, that we really like this participatory approach in installations, as well as the younger audience within our clubbing programme. OK, we have this unique location, die Festspiel Haus Hellerau where we can use these big halls for dance pieces or bigger installations. There are also small stages and smaller halls where we usually organize meetings, smaller exhibitions and so...

Johannes Birringer (c)

Our Call for Proposals is internationally recognized, it usually starts in December right after the festival is over, and what is also unique is our scholarship for new media art with an amount of 6.000 Euros. We also have a big grant project supported by the Ministry of Art and Science with an amount of 10.000 Euros. Of course, for our contests and awards we have a grant of 5.000 Euros. So, that means that we have a lot of money to spend, and we want to spend it on a quality programme. I mean, in comparison with the mayor media art festivals in Germany and Europe, like Transmediale, these sums are not so big...

Cynetart 2009, Automatic Clubbing taken from flickr

What do you think about low budget technologies, DIY technologies in the context of media art?TD: When you compare different motion sensing systems, you can find among them many really low budget projects, especially compared to motion capturing system which is really expensive and needs very sophisticated equipment. You can work with an average computer, the only thing that you need of those special equipments is a TV card or an observation cam, but if you spend maybe 5000 Euros, you can have it by your own.This is somehow the middle level, this DIY level and it will be used more and more, because technology is getting smarter and cheaper. We will have a generation that will be capable to do everything by their own. I think this will be the future!

Language Game by Kobakant (c)

Even in the context of Internet, the so-called digital culture or internet natives... I think there would be more and more projects specially designed for this kind of audience, also taking place only on the internet which would know to differ real present activity in the future. Then E-tribal art, and of course this RFID thing...I know that Johannes Birringer from Tirier University is doing infrared sensitive clothes. This is quite interesting from sevelar aspects, one thing is this possibility of connecting everything, but then the author must ask himself, what can we do with this multiple connectivity?Thanks a lot, Thomas!This interview was previously published on Personal Cyber Botanica blog
Read more…
This is a second part of interview with M.B. Solano. Read the first part: Interview with Marlon Barrios Solano: Dancers moved by Technology

Photo: Amelia by LaLaLa Human Steps (c)

Where does your interest in technology come from in your life? You teach contact dance, yoga, zazen, but you are hooked up to computing, too… People usually have wrong perception that those two can not get along…MBS: I have a background in psychology and dance. I came from Venezuela to study psychology. And psychology was really drown to cognitive science. People told me: OK technology, but you should be a dance therapist! bla bla bla… and I said: NO. I kind of liked this interesting study of perceptions, minds, you know. I’m very drown by materialist paradox of understanding humans. And then I was at the same interested in understanding the complexity of cultures. As being a dancer for a long time, I was reflecting myself officially as a dancer, but what I wanted to do was psychology and at the same time dance.So, I met David Zambrano, who’s Venezuelan and he lives now in Amsterdam. He is improviser and he also developed his own techniques, etc. I’ve met him in Venezuela at the Festival de Danza Postmoderna – he founded that festival. He brought there dancers like Nancy Stark Smith, Lisa Nelson, you name it… Incredible people! Suddenly, I was then in my apartment, and these people were dancing in my country. And I had a facility to see some kind of kernel about this very interesting motions of embodiment. It was not just about how to dance; it was really a philosophical shift that was implying the new way of improvising, trying to compose the real meaning of improvising. They had to reformulate the common parallels of understanding their bodies. So, I kind of saw that and I was interested in this kind of informal research, trying to see what is a cognitive model.

Cyber Girl by Fausto de Martini (c)

Then you moved to USA to study?MBS: So, for that reason I moved to New York in 1994. Then I started to really study improvisation, and I started to explore it from the same basis as people from virtual reality. I was interested in how people from virtual reality see the embodiment parallels. Then I start perceiving the same common theoretical lineage was practically between Lisa Nelson and people who developed the theoretical practice of contact improvisation; and people who were working with virtual reality.I started writing about this, and I was invited on psychology conference on consciousness in Tulsa. And there I met people from CaiA+STAR – Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts and Roy Ascott. He was this amazing person to me and he said to me: you know, there is actually a way of putting these things together as a research for people who want to work with dance and technology. It was in 1999, and then from this world of improvisation I started to study notions of real time, composition. And then computers and computation became very important part of the investigation. After that I applied and entered to The Advanced Computing Center for Arts and Design at the Ohio University.

Photo: from Moebius Strip by Gilles Jobin (c)

And this is how a dancer and psychologist became tainted with virus called technology…MBS: Technology has always been the umbrella to understanding practically our minds in practices. Then I learned programming – BASIC, Actionscript, etc. After that it was a progression for me when I moved back to New York and started Dance-Tech. I’m normally teaching a lot abroad and I’m doing a lot seminars.You know, when I realized that websites are not static, that was for me the coolest thing in the world (laughs). They were beautiful and animated. I mean, you put something and then it started suddenly to move. That was for me: Wow! What we have been waiting?! It’s almost connected and self organized intelligence that is about an interaction itself, that creates a kind of social improvisation. And then, I practically switched and created this interest in social software. That is a little bit of a technological story, but I’m not an original native of the Internet (laughs)…Oh, I see… (laughs)

Keyboard Bag by Joao Sabino (c)

I like the idea that we are all becoming rather multi-functional these days, we all have to be skilled in many disciplines…MBS: …or at least to have a literacy, because the notions of literacy are different now. For instance, if you have an internet native, that’s somebody younger then eighteen. I taught a workshop with teenagers in New York; and I was literally taught by some of the students. This literacy became a part of their set of social life. That is amazing, that move from text to real interaction. They can speak and they can take from these sets of knowledge. When we talk about gaming, that is a totally different involvement, then there are big changes in cognitive apparatus. Different understanding of different realities; faces that have previous faces, you know. It’s very interesting how artist use this Tech world.Then my interest evolved into this topical fields of dance and new media art. Now, I find very powerful researching how these technologies are allowing these generations of knowledge distribution in the world, in a way that is totally different from publishing generation.

Photo: Ken Stelarc (c)

Several months ago Ray Baughman presented ‘a new type of muscle that dramatically outperforms biological ones in nearly every way’ as he says. What is your opinion on nanotechnology and its soon use in every day practice?MBS: I would say there would be degrees of experimentation, degrees of assimilation of the technology. You will see a stage of development. Now, you see it more practically: wires, connections, light. You need different people to connect all this. There are technologies that are progressive now in the medical establishment. It’s not a big deal if people are using Prosac, but to understand why Prosac works is literally the same principle to understand why caffeine works. When people are coming to Starbucks, there are these huge mechanism of drug distribution – caffeine. The principle is the same. Caffeine can be monitored as a certain trigger for certain mood changes, you know. Why I’m saying this?! We are evolving a really, really important ‘Know-How’ of who we are; and how we generate technologies and we have agencies in unthinkable areas of our existence, you know. From Botox and plastic surgeries to genetic engineering and laproscopic surgery. Everybody can use it. Even if dancers would injecting grow hormone in their muscles in order to pump them up, we are ready to increase hipper design, because we have increased agencies.I mean, when you see bodies from dancers in 1973 and dancers now. I mean the difference is incredible. Just because they use different knowledge to train their bodies. At the other hand, many different techniques for dancers are now practically regular in every gym.People are using even different chemical substances, and that’s a fact. I’m not moralistic about it. That’s a fact and it actually happens. Today we have even different metabolism, that’s also a medical fact. That’s dance and technology. In the level of research, I hope (laughs).

Photo: Chunky Move (c)

This research aspect is a crucial part of your approaches to work…MBS: That is something very important to me, that dance and technology is not going to be just researching about what artist dressed or something. This field is actually about unstable embody humaness. Not only about actions and how we have these really intense performative scope that I hope we can actually research this field sometimes in a very, very ethnographic, anthropological way. That we can actually see important things, for instance in urban dances. Sometimes different from digital, we can see relation to popular culture, too. There are many performances now inspired by Manga comics. It doesn’t have to be obviously a dance with the video, you know. These differences, that’s what I would like to see.

Sciam Special Robotics (c)

How the mind is changing in relation to digital? You connected in your work digital spheres with essential human body… All movements and motions are coming from our brain… We can ignore now the fact that digital world is making a sort of a aggression, but also it is the most ‘imaginative thing’ that happened till now in human history…MBS: Yeah! Digitality has allowed to render realities that have a real of plasticity. Our minds are the most plastic, and when we say our minds, we say our body minds. It’s interesting to see how our plasticity increased because we can imagine things. Literally, we need to investigate how humans imagine, how humans create reality. It doesn’t belong only to the realm of the digital. The digital is only one deployment of technological feedback. You know, some people say: Yeah, computers are damaging this and that… .But reading has a very specific embodiment and writing has very specific embodiment, too. You have to develop certain cognitive skills. I think we should observe human embodiment even in the church. Because people are in a very intensive environment that create very immerse experience with sound. At the same time we can go in the cage with all these virtual feedbacks. Those things are possible also because of the design of technology and because we have bodies that we have. Sometimes is good to see this side of digitality and experiences. Because we live in this world of creations facilitated by different kinds of textuality, renderings. It’s a hyper designed world. It’s not about purity of experience.

William Forsythe: Synchronous Objects (c)

Now, let’s get back to Dance-Tech! What was the initial trigger for starting Dance-tech?MBS: I was a part of dance and technology community for eight years, and at the same time I was doing these development of interactive platforms for other organizations. I kind of said: Well, this is what we need! The interesting thing is that people, so many network based artists are distributing their art in the world. I thought that it would be great to have an internet based platform that will allow you to do a synchronize collaboration. You know, to post and publish. So, I proposed this to the network of dance and technology related community; and we started a discussion. We talked about that are we ready, and so. And then I thought: OK, let’s just do it!In 2007 we launched a community and social network. It has a quite specific interest, you know, dance and technology. But it is far from this ‘dance&tech’ only community. It’s an independent project, self funded and I have to say that this development was wonderful to look at, increasing members and activities. That was really needed. But then I started to include also visual artists and VJ’s. I have an idea of interviewing people, because I live in the most useful place, in New York. Now it’s a great platform and our members are increasing every day. It’s great to see so many people gathered around dance and technology.Marlon, thanks a lot!(Originally published on Personal Cyber Botanica:
Read more…
In the history of dance only few dancers and choreographers were considered as sort of tech related investigators…With the expansion of new media art, the wider use of Internet, user friendly applications, multi-functionality of modern age, and the whole DIY scene that has grown up so fast; dancers and choreographers realized that technology could be a new challenging platform for them.

Therefore, they decided to invite programmers in the process of creation, and then theoreticians also came into the field, followed by curators, too. Now, we can seriously talk about an emerging community of new media oriented performers.Free online tools enabled the possibility, literary, for every user to become the master of its own channel. You don’t need expensive equipment to become, for example, a podcaster…Something along this line recognized Marlon Barrios Solano, the founder of very, very vibrant social network, Dance-Tech. Marlon is former dancer and an inter-media artist, instructor of interactive technology for performance and an interaction designer.Dance-Tech was created on the social networking service Ning, in my opinion, still one of the best tools offered on the web market. The potential of this service was recognized by the wider public and professionals, who created several art communities which became relevant places for specialized and targeted users.Officially the network presents itself as ‘an international community of artists, scientists and theorists working in the confluence of embodied performance and new media.’

William Forsythe: Synchronous Objects (c)

Marlon Barrios Solano’s biography is fulfilled with collaborative artists, such as: Susan Marshal, Lynn Shapiro, Bill Young, Merian Soto, Dean Moos, Philip Glass, Eric Friedlander, John Zorn…At the moment he works as an instructor of interactive technology for performance, consultant on cognitive and new media architectures. Marlon holds MA in Dance and Technology (Ohio University), and regularly gives lectures and workshops internationally.He was also the main suspect for an amazing thing that happened recently in dance spheres, and that was promotion of William Forsythe’s data visualization project Synchronous Objects (I will blog about it soon, promise!). Marlon is now at residency programme in Gilles Jobin’s dance nest in Switzerland.The network is a great example what you can do with personal engagement, vibrant ideas and you can see how important is to understand the rules of social networking on the web these days. Since very recent I’ve became an associate blogger for this amazing community of artists and researchers…

Photo: Chunky Move (c)

Therefore, he’s here today for a talk on dance… technology… new media art… scientific behavioral approaches to body and movements…Hi Marlon! What do you think how dance scene started to change in the context of technology. What are your thoughts on what was driving these changes?MBS: Well, I will tell you what my approach is. Someone asked me a week ago: Marlon, do you think you should change the name of Dance-tech as such, you know, dance and technology world is disappearing as such, right? I’m aware of a lot of changes that are happening in the field and in itself.I have a very grow understanding of the relationship of the embody practices with social technological environment meaning from science to technology. In that way, a part of the agenda of the project is trying to see, put forward or to figure these sometimes very obvious connections between dance approaches and practices with technologies of the time.And not only the technologies of the time; but also philosophical, epistemological and scientific world use that exist parallel in the spectrum in certain time.Where would you place new media in this relation with bodily aspects?MBS: With all this I said, I’ve tried to set and connect training practices, especially, how we understand the process, creative process. How we understand time and relationship with proposition and design. It has been always related with technological proportions…In that way, I think that dance and technology have always been related to digital technology. I believe that in most of the embody practices that we call dance, there is a substrata, there is normally this relation to technology of the time. I think it’s very important to be aware that dance and new media are, most recent, in interrelation that are trying to understand the relationship of bodies with technologies of the time. In this case we are using new media. But, perhaps the principles are the same; you know what I mean, because our body has been evolved with the practices. So, I think that it’s important to see what is a cognitive connection that we have – us, human creatures. And how it has allowed us to be, kind of, related with the tool making and technique making.So, Techne is for me the most important. Techne is a skill, you know, it translates the skills instead the tool. That is something really interesting for me. You know, I came from the tradition and I place myself in the tradition also: dance, influenced by productive movement, deconstruction on what movement is, what dance is.

I the context of dance history, how it started and who was first? I don’t think in a sense of pure understanding of data, the way we perceive information today?MBS: I can say that there is a very direct connection with the notions of information and understanding of rule system, practically is more procedural than the process that determines the steps and so. There is at the moment present very interesting relationship that I would say, contrary to what most people think, that dancers and mostly dancers in the last forty years are being very related with technological discourses. You know, first it came from Merce Cunningham, and then continued with Trisha Brown… ‘Creating accumulations’ – it’s practically a piece that is an algorithm. There is a relationship, because we use bodies that we have with technology.How these changes have affected our experience of dance on one side, and technology on the other side?MBS: I don’t thing there is something as pure dance, it doesn’t exist. Dance is a cognitive phenomenon that evolved within an environment that is designed for it to happen, doesn’t matter where: a church, dance studio or a parade. You know, spontaneous dancing, whatever… it’s always situated, it’s always contextualized. I think that the most important aspect is that we have understood that we live in the world of conflicts. And these conflicts can be sometimes with pretty direct feedbacks. And these feedbacks, you know, like you know that you live in a loop of constant conflict of feedback of images, feedback of sound.

It’s a sort of body mapping… movements mapping…MBS: Yes! For example, when you play a drum? You would have this person making music. When you take a drum out, you can see the movements, you can see that there is a dance, right? With a drum you really see this very direct impact of the body with the surface and this creates the sound. So, there is a very direct consequence of physical action. With digital technology we have been able to create different ways of mapping physical actions and that mapping is sometimes not liberated. But then, this mapping has liberated these direct ‘one to one’ consequences of certain kind of physical action. Meaning, if you have a computer that can simulate certain outputs like colour, bodies, or, let’s say, certain kind of practice, or even a sound of certain intensities.The opposite to the physical action and the intensity of the response is not ‘one to one’. It might be another possibility, if you leave a strength or a heat, it can have a very direct consequence, but that’s another issue of physical logic. The intensity of non movement not necessarily have to be hard in the intensity of the colour, you know, that relates to the data. That possibility of separating how we perceive action and reaction, or a consequence of an action, the relationship of a natural with another output is what has made technology really interesting. So, than you can have a lot of possibilities of plasticity of different kinds of mapping and visualizations, renderings combined with sound.

Photo: AP Photo Japan (c) taken from NG

How would you relate this to the development that is happening in robotics, Artificial Intelligence…MBS: I think that one of the most interesting thing that is happening now is in robotics. There is a certain kind of lineage of robotics science, and mostly certain lineage of the Artificial Intelligence that is not so ’social architecture oriented’, but is investigating intelligence of the biological systems. So, it creates totally different parallels of understanding the intelligence. I think that ‘digital’ is in a recursive loop to influence dance practices.I would say for so many instances, what we call new media or technology, that if we have to think about it – the actual manifestation of behavioural media, which is dance in a way, is there in robotics too. Or, I would say, like I called ‘Dance-Tech – interdisciplinary explorations on the performance in motion’, it would be really interesting to understand the phenomena of motion.In dance we can think, you know, that there is a motion; then a motion picture – there is motion in the media, there is motion in robotic device… At the same time we have to understand a lot ourselves, to understand how we perceive motion. We have agencies for a certain kinds of motion. I think that digital technology is allowing a lot of really interesting simulations, really interesting feedbacks.Dance scene is now using gadgets for playing in order to express themselves…MBS: The one that made practically big WOW in the nineties was the gestural console media. Let’s say, someone or a performer were able to perform a certain kind of movement and immediately were able to map certain consequences or certain repercussions, or reactions of the media. So, that is right now practically given, we have kids playing, there are a lot of video games with video tracking, etc. Yeah, I think that is very interesting what artists are doing itself or as result of interesting collaborations. But at the same time these extremely forces are emerging jobs because technologies are available to practically everybody.…and it’s free!MB: Yeah, that is also very important factor, affordability of technology right now. They are creating autonomies of landscape. Affordability and accessibility of modern tools and then open source.Something that you were able to do with maps in eight years ago now you have more approachable tools and software that can literally get to the community and accessing it, or make a processing simpler. Also development of Macintosh computers, I mean at the beginning they were expensive, they still are. But it created a completely new landscape for experimentators that were reserved only for certain formal institutions.That’s how dance technologies started, from the field of universities. Because universities were getting these big grants and they were the only one able to have these labs. ‘Motion capture’ is something that is still developing within this complex. You know, motion capture still belong to the ground of formalized researchers and organizations that have resources. Video tracking and the use of movement tracking or multi-tracking recognition are much more available and affordable technologies.

IMCT Projects, The Dance Technology Project (1999)

But the comprehension of new media art also helped a bit to this situation…MBS: So, there are all these factors, you know, I think that media art is now much more understood, it’s a well understanding form, I think. Now is practically a common place to have a video in many performances, so no one is thinking that it’s such odd thing to have a virtual character or so. You know, even interactivity as such has lost interest for some people. But, there are people who are doing interesting researches in the field.So, it’s a different landscape now, and there is a lot of choreographers not being specific on the dance floor which are doing technological experiments and they are calling themselves in terms of ‘dance and technology’. They are just inspired by these kind of technologies and tools. And that is very interesting thing, because it’s mostly self-reflective. For years technologies were divided, and now they are existing and co-relating parallel. Now, we can say easily: Yeah, we can do that!Read the second part: Interview with Marlon Barrios Solano: On Dance-Tech and dance embodiment, part ll(Originally published on Personal Cyber Botanica:
Read more…

Blog Topics by Tags

Monthly Archives