science (9)


Digital Culture Festival (map + parking)

Throughout the three-day run of Emerge, the Digital Culture Festival celebrates the collaboration of artists, engineers and scientists as distinguished guest artists and faculty and students from ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the Fulton Schools of Engineering exhibit a series of interactive happenings. These creations will fill indoor and outdoor spaces spanning the arc of design and arts buildings at the west end of the Tempe campus. The Festival will culminate in a Saturday evening gala that will also include the closing show of the ASU’s Night of the Open Door. All festival exhibits and events are open to the public.

The festival activities include:

  • Immerge (Nelson Fine Arts building and plaza, begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 3) The setting will become the canvas for a unique interactive performance that immerses the audience in the futures imagined throughout the conference. Improvising actors (call them "animators") will move through the crowd enticing them to drive interactive sculptures and animations. The audience – based on their interactions with the actors and machines and their patterns of movement – will drive real-time graphics and sound engines. These engines will produce three-dimensional visual displays on the building and create surround-sound displays in the plaza. This cutting-edge show is being developed by a diverse group of ASU faculty and students from the arts, design and engineering units led by faculty members Daragh Byrne, Lance Gharavi, Hilary Harp, Todd Ingalls, Jordan Meyers, Loren Olson, Garth Paine, Jacob Pinholster, David Tinapple and Pavan Turaga. Read more
  • Digital Culture Corridor (open all three days, March 1–3, unless otherwise noted):
  • Sensory Meadowlocated in the Digital Culture Walkway of the Stauffer Building on the Arizona State University Main Campus in Tempe, Arizona, features a lighted sculptural passageway that responds in real time to environmental sensors visualizing a range of metro factors such as air quality, water usage, and traffic levels. The artwork is a suspended garden of 45 light-weight translucent forms made of multiple layers of laser-cut Plexiglas. These computer-generated blossoms pulse in response to local real-time data such as river water flows, barometric pressure, CO2 levels and air particulate readings. In addition, the environment reacts dramatically to people passing under it through responsive sound and quickening light pulses. Created by Mary Neubauer and Todd Ingalls. (Stauffer Breezeway)
  • “Your ______Here” is an SMS “happening.” Text-based projections will be displayed on the exterior of the Nelson Fine Arts Building, prompting passersby to contribute responses via mobile phone. Throughout theEmerge event, the system will collect and display provocative participant messages related to the festival themes. Created by Aisling Kelliher, Silvan Linn and Ryan Spicer. (Nelson Fine Arts Building exterior)
  • Building Projections: Jake Pinholster, director of the Herberger Institute School of Theatre and Film, and his students will illuminate the Nelson Fine Arts Plaza and portions of the desert sky.
  • 2012: A Golf Odyssey: A multidisciplinary team of students from across The Design School and Digital Culture are collaborating to turn the Neeb Plaza into a miniature golf course. The typical mini–golf experience is augmented by holes that react to a player’s progress, successes and failures. The four holes communicate with the golfers and with each other to create a fun, responsive and collective update to the mini–golf tradition.
  • Powered by Fiction: Artists, Makers, Tinkerers and the Backstories that Inspire Them to Create, presented by Intel: A past that never was; a future that may never be; a present day made strange…. The imagined worlds of speculative fiction give us a lens through which to interrogate our own world, to explore paths we did not take and to begin to chart a new course toward tomorrow. This gallery exhibit, sponsored by Intel Labs, showcases fictional worlds made tangible and real through the creation of not just stories but also costumes, props, gadgets and environments. Explore the power of design fiction to generate the artifacts of alternate worlds. (The Design Gallery)
  • Alien Health Embodied Game and I Know Where We Stand Game:SMALLab invites you to play in an immersive health game for middle-schoolers called “Feed yer Alien.” Students level up as they learn about nutrition while feeding a foundling alien who has a body like ours. This active, mixed-reality game will also be demoed with the new game that was created during the EMERGE Workshop called the “I Know Where We Stand Game.” (Open on Saturday, March 3 from 5–7 p.m. Digital Arts Ranch at University Drive and Myrtle Avenue.)
  • Echo:System: “echo: system” is a live performance and installation work led by Arts, Media + Engineering Professor Grisha Coleman with Todd Ingalls and a collaborative team of ASU artists and researchers. The project is a response to our current environmental crisis caused by contemporary humans’ inability to reflect on the impact of their actions on the natural world. The goals of the project are to create lasting, arts-driven vehicles for cross-disciplinary research, curriculum advancement and community engagement. (Open Saturday, March 3 from noon – 1 p.m. and 4:30–7 p.m. Neeb Plaza)
  • Starting With the Universe: Design Science Now: Experience an immersive theater experience inside David McConville’s GeoDome and explore cosmic models to design problems in an era of unprecedented global change induced by human activities. (Open Saturday, March 3 from 5–7 p.m. ASU Art Museum)
  • Interactive Performances (Film Studio, Stauffer B125, Saturday, March 3,
    5–6:15 p.m.):
  • Digital Culture Music Ensemble (5–5:30 p.m.): The DC Music Ensemble, directed by Visiting Professor Garth Paine, transcends the acoustic/digital divide. Members control software interfaces in an organic and dynamic fashion that rivals the rich musicality and nuance that heritage acoustic instruments provide. The ensemble seeks to address the question “What is the music of our time?” by combining the old with the new.
  • Laptop Orchestra (5:45-6:15 p.m.): Laptop Orchestra of Arizona State (LOrkAS) is a student–initiated, student–led and student–managed group from various backgrounds and disciplines. Performers explore the possibilities of the laptop for musical, visual and interactive expression and push the envelope of integrating arts and technology.

Read more…

Here we (*) are again. The young Art.On.Wires festival opens its doors for the second time.

Like last year, we arrived in a very warm and wellcoming atmosphere here in Oslo. Not just because the sun is shining...

Today the day starts with an introduction talk by Alexander Eichhorn, the founder of this festival. 12249504065?profile=original

The day is reserved for talks and lectures. People introduce themself and their work in general or more specific, talk a little about the workshops they will give and answer some questions.

Marko Ritter (D), co-founder of the company intolight, starts the lecture about his work and research. Intolight got a grand from the E.C.A.S. network to develope their project CHET (collective hedonistic toolkid). One part of this software mainly based on vvvv is switchboy. It's a toolkid for Vjing. You basically can do everything with it. The software will be open-source and Marko hopes for many people who will contribute new patches for switchboy in order to develope this multi-functional toolkid. You can do mind mapping, project 3D graphics, Videos and all the things a good Vj programm should be able to provide.
Marko will give a workshop together with Valérie-Françoise Vogt for vvvv - An introduction into the Multipurpose Toolkit on Thursday and Sunday.

Marko Ritter // intolight //
Valérie-Françoise Vogt // veevee.12249504301?profile=originalde
CHET // chet toolkid
Switchboy // switchboy


After the lunch break the talks continue with and DKIA.


Based in Vienna Philip Fischer, Erkin Bayirli, Michal Wlodkowski, the guys from, talk as well about their artist collective and their artistic-research work. Michal gives us a short overview about their projects, one is the international festival coded cultures. Erkin introduces us to 12249505663?profile=originalthe roboter plant superViVo and some other agiland mobile cybernetic plants. It's all about playfulness and an easy access to solar topics, agil cybernetic plants and gadges.
They will give their workshop on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

coded cultures // festival

superViVo robot // (AU) //



DKIA are based in Vienna as well, working and researching in the fields of media art, electronics, prototyping and sustainable innovations. In the last two years they focused on LED technology and realized several LED driven projects. 12249505866?profile=original
To just drop in some words what they're doing: web development, participating activism art, interactive talking cubes.
They gonna give a full day workshop Thursday and half day on Friday.




Jacob Korn talks about his main projects over the last years, beside being a musician and producer for Techno and House music. Automatic clubbing is one of it. Now called I.D.A (interactive dancefloor application) which is a collaborative instrument. In the beginning it would run with kalypso and max.msp stand alone. He collaborates with different people to realize several performances, such as Frieder Weiß, Matthias Härtig, intolight. Next project is Harmony Universe. An instrument mainly for 12249506498?profile=originalchildren. They learn playing with music and rhythm through an interactive software and visuals on the floor (for instance). It is a collaborative instrument, so if the kids play well, it sounds well...max4life and vvvv is used for the software stuff. Another baby of Jacob is Uncanny Heroes - a workshop based development for a tool to let people interact with the sound and visuals they're confronted with in a normal party situation.

He will give a workshop for Abelton live on Thursday

Jacob Korn //
Harmony Universe //
Uncanny Heroes //



Lars Graugaard is basically talking about his great wish to have a software which does everything for him. Well, who doesn't. His longstanding research in music, working as a composer and programmer brought him to a constantly improving "organism" to make music and performances happen. One software, huge possibilities where and how to use it. Together with his students he enlarges the 12249507075?profile=originalnecessary patches for max.msp. Lars' aim is to have a flexible system to work with many different instruments and their very specific characteristics.

His workshop will be on Sunday.

Lars Graugaard //

After a small coffee break we continue with Jason Geistweidt (US/NO) and Brock Craft (UK).


Jason Geistweidt introduces us to his projects and philosophy of his work. It's all about collaboration 12249507877?profile=original and trust and communication. Working on a huge project called "world opera" Jason is connected to 6 different countries in order to create and research how to make a world opera happen. In realtime of 12249508089?profile=original course. Using video, OSC, vvvv and all you need, there is still the problem of time delay. Even if it is just about milli seconds still a lot of artists (musicians, dancers...) have problems to interact over camera to a different place in the world. Where am I? What is your time, what is mine?

Friday night there will be a linked performance with Oslo and California.

Jason Geistweidt //




Last but not least Brock Craft talks about his work. Brock is an Interaction Designer, artist, and specialist in Physical Computing and Information Visualization. One of his many projects is "NetChimes". Basically you need a chime and a station to live stream it. Over a server you can listen to any chimes 12249508268?profile=original listed on the server. We checked it out during his lecture and it worked perfectly.

His workshop for Arduino will be on Saturday.

Brock Craft //
NetCHimes //



Tomorrow starts an exciting day full of interesting workshops. I'll keep you updated!





(*)We is:

Marko Ritter - VVVV programmer -

Valérie-Françoise Vogt - graphic design -

Jacob Korn - musician (Abelton, Max 4life) -

Johanna Roggan - dancer, choreographer -

Read more…
This is the second part of the interview with choreographer and dancer Brice Leroux. Read the first part here: Interview with Brice Leroux, part 1, Dancing lumino kinetics

Electron-positron interaction from Continum by Brice Leroux

Could you describe a little bit the processes of your work from the beginning…

BL: I guess it depends on every process in particular. Of course, it’s always the first initial point, and it's about the movement and about the perception of this movement. So, I work on certain parameter of movement and then I’m trying to magnify the perception of this for the viewer.

Usually, it’s a physical process. First, it’s about what are your physical cababilities and how far can you go with it? The idea by itself is not important enough; it’s about how we are going with it? How far you’re going to bring it? And about the training with dancers

It’s a long process of building a technique, actually. Of course, it’s not only about us in the studio as performers, but also about the audience. I think that this experience of watching is important. Then, it’s a lot about the scenography, and the light and the costume. How it’s going to allow the audience to focus on the performance. This focusing is important. And I think that these experiments are a mayor issue, although they are not sensing physical experience, it’s about the perception.

Electron-positron interaction from Continum by Brice Leroux

I guess that’s how the process goes and I’m trying to take away everything that is not necessary for the experience, both for the ‘doer’ and for the viewer. On this way you can have full experience and really focus on what we are really doing.

What about these technical parameters? Because you’re using many elements that are based on science… in your work scenography takes an important place, it’s a huge element in your language… basically, the light is dancing, the sound is dancing…

BL: Right! Yeah, as a choreographer I feel as much as a visual artist then a choreographer. Because it’s about the perception of the movement. In this sense I feel like a visual artist and in a way, for me choreography should be a part of visual art. It’s working with the perception, what is specific here we have perception on human movement.

I’m focusing as much on the perception of the movement then on the movement. Of course, I’m also doing costumes, lights, scenography… for me all of these are part of my job, because it’s about the perception of the movement. I have never collaborated with a visual artist for instance, or with a scenographer, or costume designer…

LED cube, photo taken from Instructables

So, you are doing everything by yourself?

BL: Yes! But for me it's much more coherent this way, because I can't work on the movement and then let someone else to show it the way they want. I don’t want to work with visual artists who haven’t been through the whole process and decided randomly to pick up some element. This aspect is gonna magnify or hide somehow. I’m responsible for this, and on this way I’m the scenographer, and the costume designer, light designer, because it’s a part of the process.

It has to be me, who goes through all these processes, otherwise it can’t be coherent. It goes along the creation; all these aspects are going to be parallel works. For instance, I can’t work on the movement and then wander how I’m going to show this, it’s all the part of the same process.

I’m working on the light little by little as much as with the movement. It’s all part of the same process, it can’t be divided for me, and it would be totally incoherent to work on the movement and then let someone else decide how it’s gonna be shown.

Continum by Brice Leroux (c)

What are you seeking from your dancers?

BL: I want my dancers to go fully with the work. That they wanna go as far as they can building up a new technique every time with a new project, and not being afraid to spend hours and hours in the studio working on one simple thing, trying to bring it as far as they can.

You have rather good connections with Bulgaria? One of the company member is Bulgarian contemporary dancer Krassen Krastev...

BL: This just happened like this. Somehow I ended up in Bulgaria long time ago. I guess that was in 1992, if I’m correct, because I have won this Paris competition as a dancer. That was an arrangement with this competition, which is mostly ballet actually, I won it with contemporary dance, but it just happened that there was no first prize for ballet…

So, they have invited me in Varna to show my work. Of course, it was in the early nineties, still post communism situation, especially in Bulgaria; and there were mostly ballet happenings. I’ve felt a little bit like an alien in the middle of those things. I have showed them a quite contemporary solo in the middle of TuTu’s and point shoes, and Paquitas' and Copelias’… (laughs) which was really weird and I felt like most of the people were wondering what is this weird thing they were watching?

Continum by Brice Leroux (c)

But there were actually few people; somehow it seems that it opened a lot their view on what was possible. Although, maybe for three or four person in the audience. For me that was really a strong experience to see that I could touch few people, and that my work has changed their artistic lives.

That was quite intense experience. One of these few people was Krassen. When he saw my work, he founded contemporary dance company in Bulgaria, which was the first. So, it felt like there was some kind of connection. Few years later we met again and I proposed him to dance for me, and since then we have been collaborating and it’s been a great collaboration.

What artists did inspire you in your work?

BL: It’s hard to say. There are a lot of artists that I really like. But in my work, I tend to avoid influences because I’m trying to build what I think choreographic work should be. I don’t want to take it for granted that this is dance and I should go for this.

I’m trying to build my own ideas on what contemporary dance, choreographic composition should be for me. Yeah, I don’t feel any influences. I find the work I’m doing as I’m being completely within and that’s the way it should be.

Led Fiber Optics

What do you think about technology in dance?

BL: It’s just a tool. It’s not interesting by itself for me. I don’t need amazing technology. Actually for this solo, it’s the first time that I’m using some sort of new technology which is really simple. It was just this idea that the source light is lighting an object, but the object is being lit by itself, it’s the object itself that is giving light. And for this I had to investigate in new technology and I ended up working with this electronic luminescence which is kind of new.

Actually, it was really complicated to build this show because it was new, you don’t have a lot of information how this thing is going to work. That was the big part of the process to discover how this is working. There was not a lot of information on this. But it's just a tool, it could be something else. In other shows, I’m only using what’s already in the theatre. I’m not using a lot actually, just few lights most of people are using and I’m trying to get the most out of it.

Continum by Brice Leroux (c)

With this performance 'Solo#2-Fréquences' it was a little bit different. I wanted to use something we are bringing by ourselves. We have our lights; we have our curtains, the scenography that we are bringing with. In this situation when everybody is so close and all around you can not hide the source of light. So, then I needed to have light but not coming from outside. The source of light needed to be hidden, from every point of view. But it was just a tool to go where I wanted to go.

Do you work at the moment on some new piece?

BL: Yeah, I'm coming back to the trajectories in the space. Actually, I'm focusing more on bodies moving in the space and the interaction between the bodies. Rather then the movement of the body in one place, like in the 'Solo#2-Fréquences', where the body is not moving in the space. Then it's about the articulations of the body. I'm coming back more to trajectories and I would like to work now with more people. And again using the theatre context, front stage, big venues… we'll see how it goes…

Thank you, Brice!

Read the first part here: Interview with Brice Leroux, part 1, Dancing lumino kinetics

(Originally published on BodyPixel)

Read more…
French choreographer and dancer Brice Leroux presented in February his lumino kinetic dance piece 'Solo#2-Fréquences' at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. The guest performance was organized by Eurokaz – The International Festival of New Theatre.

Photo of Brice Leroux by Sandra Piretti (c)

Brice Leroux (b. 1974) graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Lyon in 1992. For his First Solo he received a prize for best contemporary dancer at the Paris International Dance Competition and the Gold Medal of the city of Paris. In 1992 he was awarded a scholarship by the American Dance Festival in North Carolina and completed his training in New York at the studios of Trisha Brown and Merce Cunningham.

In 1994 he moved to Brussels to dance with Rosas. Three years later Brice Leroux decided to give up this work and decided to the study of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at the University of Paris VIII. He worked with David Hernandez, George Alexander Van Dam (violinist in the Ictus Ensemble), Sarah Chase, Jean-Luc Ducourt and others.

In his work 'Solo#2-Fréquences' Leroux uses mathematical schemes applied on movements, LED art, and sound tempo. It's a poetic science on trajectories in space. Brice Leroux is a fascinating and uncompromising choreographer; and he doesn't care much about the establishment, but is fully committed to the processes of work.

Brice Leroux: Continum, photo by Wolfgang Kirchner (c)

Therefore, here is Brice Leroux to tell us more on his art_space_sound_body articulations...

Let's start with your education and interest in dance…

BL: First I've been trained as a ballet dancer. I guess like a lot of dancers, I was being educated like this till the age of sixteen and then I oriented myself to contemporary dance. I’ve studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Lyon. Afterwards, I left for the States to study a bit with the Cunningham Studio and with dancers of Trisha Brown Company. Voila! That’s about it, I’m mainly dance trained…

I’m very interested in your American experiences, because techniques by Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown are slightly different… What was it like to work with them?

BL: Right! Well, it’s true, the movements are very different in these two techniques, kind of opposite. For instance, Merce Cunningham did everything as a sort of geometry, whilst in Trisha Brown’s technique everything is more free and more like fluid forms. Trisha’s movements were actually informal in a way.

But at the same time, what was interesting to me was the fact that these techniques are really working mostly on the movement. And there is nothing theatrical in it, a dancer is a dancer and dancers are really not pretending to do something, just letting their bodies to work.

Photo: Gravitations by Brice Leroux (c)

I guess, some people would call it abstraction, but I don’t think it’s really abstract, because it’s still a human person doing it. So, I think there is still a possibility for the empathy for the viewer.

It can’t be abstract and for me really is important to define the art of dancing in a way. Like really playing with your body which is totally something else then being an actor, like pretending to live something else. I don’t feel like I’m pretending anything, I’m just playing with my body and I’m living the sensations it gives me, hoping that this is also 'lived' by the viewer, I guess.

Seems that you are interested lately more in corporal work and kind of minimalism… Is there anything that has triggered this interest particularly? When did you decide to do this kind of aesthetics?

BL: Well, I was just trying to learn as a composer. I guess I needed to focus on one figure at the time. I didn’t study choreography for instance, compositions and these kinds of things. My way of working is actually studying every aspect of what composition is. For instance, if I would work on trajectories in space that’s enough for me to focus on, without a need to also work on arms movement for instance or something else.

For me, there is my own 'composition' I work on and then, I work for the viewer… because I’m also trying to create things to let the viewer see this work on trajectories.


Therefore, everything out of that I'm moving away to show what I want to see. Hence, I’m working on what’s necessary and what’s enough.
I’m not interested in minimalism itself. I’m just interested to focus on one aspect of compositions, if it’s already a full work, that's enough and I don't have to mix everything.

As for the viewer, I wanna show the specific thing I’m working on. I’m dividing it into parameters, only working on certain parameters at time.

What is your relation as a choreographer to the space… to theatre space? More precisely, how do you treat space in your work?

BL: Um, that’s a large question. As for theatre space, I started experimenting with space more like Trisha (Brown), having more events in site specific spaces. Afterwards, I started to go to theatres and then working in some propositions this space gave me, for instance: What is a block box? What is a frontal perception of the audience?

Solo#2-Fréquences by Brice Leroux (c)

Well, in this performance 'Solo#2-Fréquences', the audience is all around and it's a little bit different. I’m trying to use what's in the theatre and what’s interesting in this situation, the audience is sitting in front of it, in the dark, there are no other stimuli and it’s a live show, it’s direct and you know that’s not an image. A human body in front of them, and that’s a specific situation that I want to work with.

In terms of space, what’s interesting for me is the space between bodies. If you are only working with trajectories, the distance between bodies and how they come close or get far from each other. In a way, what’s really visible for me is happening between space and that’s what I’m trying to work on.

OK, now we can switch to music and the importance of the sound in your work. You studied ethnomusicology and came into contact with other cultures through traditional dances ... Why did you decide to go in that direction?

BL: Traditional dances were interesting to me because you are entering the field that's not about the style, specific style that has been built by some choreographer, but was built over the years, decades, centuries.

Photo: Olivier Matterlart (c) from Quantum-Quintet by Brice Leroux

There are really coherent forms that somehow attracted me to study them and to see what style actually is? You can do the movement with it, like for instance, if you would ask a ballet dancer to do a movement or if you would ask an African dancer to do exactly the same, it’s not going to be the same thing at all. This is what interests me. What are these differences in the way of doing things? And for me, these differences are style, so researching on this was important. Body movements are not only shapes, it’s also a way of doing it.

For me that was a way to go toward the source of the pleasure of the movement. It wasn't being built by someone thinking about what movement should be, it’s just something that has been built up over the centuries, something that is very coherent within the society and just a basic pleasure of what dancing is.

Photo: Olivier Matterlart (c) from Quantum-Quintet by Brice Leroux

Yeah, I know... many people very often use these terms like, lets make now a Forsythe movement, or a Cunningham movement… what about non labeled body and movement?

BL: Yeah, I didn’t want to create my style based on taste. For me that was training, too. As a dancer, I wanted to have all these experiences. But, I don’t wanna be imprisoned with a certain style that I would have to study more then others. I wanted this range of obvious possibilities and from this point, my work is about not deciding on style.

I’ve never decided to use a movement because I think: oh this is nice, so I would do this. So, I’m building this compositional mathematics in order to avoid this. There is some sort of logic and coherence with the project rather then a decision of taste.

I guess, that’s what I’m trying to do, which is somehow opposite to traditional dances. But because it’s opposite, I was really interested in this. I needed to go through all these things to pull away from this, I guess.

Read the second part of the interview with Brice Leroux: Choreographing bodies and spaces

(Originally published on Body Pixel)

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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:
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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:
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BRAINWAVE: Common Senses, NYC

February 16- April 19, 2008 Opening Saturday, Februrary 16, 2008 7-10pm BRAINWAVE: Common Senses responds to current advancements in neurological research by visualizing and investigating the brain’s capacity for sense perception, memory, emotion and logic. The artists in this exhibition redefine this research in a different way, abandoning literal representations of the brain and categorical analysis in favor of works that take, as starting points, elements from neuroscience and flipping these ideas on their heads. These works create an alternate discourse between art and science, encouraging the viewer to consider the brain not only as the center of human activity but as a site for interpretation. This exhibition presents the brain as a site for scientific and philosophical debates, for examining our relationship to the world – and for questioning our common sense. This exhibition is the second in Exit Art’s Unknown Territories series of exhibitions that explore the impact of scientific advances on contemporary culture and examine in particular how contemporary artists interpret and interact with the new knowledge and possibilities created by technological innovation in the 21st century. It follows Paradise Now: Picturing the Genetic Revolution, a landmark exhibition of art and biotechnology at Exit Art in 2000. The next exhibition is Corpus Extremus (LIFE+), curated by Boryana Rossa, an exhibition of biotechnology based artworks opening December 6, 2008. ARTISTS Suzanne Anker, David Bowen, Steve Budington, Phil Buehler, Andrew Carnie, George Jenne, Daniel Marguiles and Chris Sharp, Fernando Orellana and Brendan Burns, Jamie O'Shea, SERU, Devorah Sperber, Naho Taruishi, Dustin Wenzel Suzanne Anker (New York, NY) uses three-dimensional Rorschach tests, brain scans and images of butterfly wings to describe the organic complexity of the human brain. David Bowen’s (Duluth, MN) Swarm is an autonomous roaming device whose movements are determined by dozens of houseflies housed inside the device itself. Steve Budington’s (Burlington, VT) painting, The Candidate, critiques the political campaign by visualizing a candidate made entirely of ears listening to a constituency made of eyes. Phil Buehler’s (New York, NY) video, Windows of the Soul, questions the idea of madness through the eyes of 300 psychiatric patients. Andrew Carnie’s (Winchester, England) installation Magic Forest uses cyclical slide projections to depict an ever-growing ‘forest’ of neurons within a developing brain to show its data collecting capability. George Jenne’s (Brooklyn, NY) sculptural installation uses a variety of objects associated with adolescence, called ‘tokens’, set against a green screen to explore the brain’s ability to catalog various images and reference them with past experiences. Daniel Marguiles (New York, NY) and Chris Sharp (Milano, Italy) couple Kant’s Third Critique of Judgement and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with brain scan imagery to create a video of the stimulated brain. Fernando Orellana (Troy, NY) imposes his own brainwave activity during R.E.M (rapid eye movement) sleep on a robot in order to determine its navigation and behavior. Jamie O’Shea’s (New York, NY) Alvin is a realization of an interactive and electronic neural network constructed with physical hardware. Daniel Rozin’s (New York, NY) kinetic “mirror” uses tangible objects to pixelate “reflections” of persons or objects moving in front of it. SERU’s (New York, NY) Reodorant, a multisensory installation, is a memory-reactive device that mixes smell, sound, light and architecture. Devorah Sperber (New York, NY) uses hundreds of spools of thread to create a blurry, inverted image that, when viewed through the lens of a magnifying glass, becomes a precise rendering of the Mona Lisa. Naho Taruishi’s (New York, NY) single-channel video, Close Your Eyes, is meant to be seen ‘blindly’ with the eyelids acting as an internal projection screen. Dustin Wenzel’s (Ottawa, Canada) brass sculptures are brain-cavity castings of Great Whales.
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Marlon & I have been debating the design of an on-line component to dance on camera. We've explored some names, such as dance on camera: mash-up or Mash-Up Mambo. We've wondered whether to make it a contest to be judged by editors, to tie it to specific scores or themes, to offer prizes or to set it up as something more timeless, something that could continue into perpetuity.Reading today that Charles Darwin would be 200 next year, I propose that we honor his theory of evolution. How to do this exactly? We could provide the "garden" of dance footage on-line and invite everyone to cross-pollinate.Designing this venture challenges everyone and simultaneously pushes the merits of honing an idea.We have a sponsor as of this afternoon.More soon.
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dance-tech,net went to the opening of FEEDBACK@eyebeam. This is the description of the show: Eyebeam’s expansive new exhibition, FEEDBACK, surveys artists, designers, architects and engineers on the topic of sustainability, and presents their responses—19 projects varying from public art projects and industrial design to DIY energy solutions and software tools—to inspire discussion and action on this pervasive (and increasingly commodified) subject. As the culmination of Eyebeam’s Beyond Light Bulbs programming series, the show highlights the concerns, interests and work of Eyebeam’s Sustainability Research Group, with work by individuals, collectives, students, local community groups and the Eco-Vis Challenge winners. Free, artist-run workshops are integral to the exhibition’s design and are scheduled Saturdays throughout the show’s duration. I am curious about the kings of works are emerging in dance and new media dealing with ecology and sustainability?
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