Making code dance/making dance code
During [SZOBA|R|T], a German/Hungarian artist collaboration that took place in an abandoned building in the centre of Budapest, I organised a week of livecoding and dance improvisation jams (see all images here). The idea behind these jams was to bridge the gap in tacit knowledge that is now held by dancers and coders separately. In order to let these knowledges synergize, we should all get on it together and start creating and let new knowledge emerge from the process.
Improvisation: the sweet spot between structure and freedom
How do you start (getting a grip on common conceptual notions between the fields of dance and coding)? What are good design rules for an improvisational framework that both coders and dancers can work with? How many rules do you need? How much freedom is necessary? How do you negotiate this as you go? The project was part of my residency at Kitchen Budapest in 2010, more info here.
A short article of mine was published on VVVNT, dealing with the expressive and philosophical potential of performance practices combining dance improvisation and live coding.VVVNT is an online journal, forum, & project space for sharing ways of thinking with practical connections across time, scale, system, & discipline: http://vvvnt.com/media/dancing-the-digital
Livecoding as improvisational practice
Live coding is a type of performance where programmers show off their visual coding skills in realtime. Completely live, you see animated graphics come to life in projections, while a group of programmers punches in code to entertain their audience with a (audio)visual spectacle. A group of coders from Kitchen Budapest have been experimenting with this recently, especially with implementing the Kinect in the Fluxus environment. Kinect captures movement data in 3D using infrared cameras, which makes it a perfect combination with dance.
The aim of this project therefore, was to find a way to get these improvisers to work together and experiment freely during 3-hour jams, not entirely dissimilar to the jams that are common practice in a dance style known as contact improvisation. Eight local dancers – many of them with a contact improv or contemporary dance background – worked with us during the week, resulting in a demonstration at the opening of week 3 at [SZOBA|R|T].
From livecoding to dancecoding: where practices meet
This setup put no pressure on choreographing a stage performance, but stayed closer to the traditions of contact improvisation and livecoding: focusing on the live interaction between all the actors: live music, the several coders, a number of projections, and the moving bodies of the dancers. Responses of all collaborators were very positive so we investigated the possibilities of organising more jams in the future. I left Budapest but the group continued to collaborate and did a number of dance coding work and performances together.
Movement-Moving Machines investigates the ways in which dance acts as part of a media ecology and social practice as emotive, intuitive, physical experience and expression without becoming mere representation. Here, dance movement is understood as a social (semi-)improvisational activity, rather than choreographed steps. What is foregrounded is the idea that movement is relational: it produces space-time and emerges in connection with other moving bodies, the space around them and other non-human actors. By causing interference in social dance contexts and systems that might look like well-oiled machines, the relationality of moving bodies and touch as a social gesture is articulated. Potentiality as the crux of movement is highlighted: “My body is not in movement when I still think I can predict my steps” (Manning, Politics of Touch, 2007: 26)
Movement-Moving Machines aims to provide experiential entrances into an understanding of dance systems as mediated social system. It is a series of contraptions that help investigate the conditions of social dance, music and movement as set by its own materialities, not just meaning and representation. By intervening in the conventions and material relations of a number of dance settings, these useless machines speculate about the politics of dance and touch, the connections we can or cannot make with other bodies and how these are materialized and sustained. But more importantly, how we may cause ruptures in these systems to open them up to a different critique and a more open-ended future.
This was my final research project for the MA Interactive Media: Critical Theory and Practice I did at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2009-2010. It was exhibited in summer 2010 at the final show, We Are All Transistors.
Living Memory is a project investigating the structures of memory in Chalkwell Park by looking into the donated benches, trees and war memorials. It invites visitors of Chalkwell Park to cherish a living memory of a loved one, a relative, a good friend or neighbor by winding a thread around this tree: together changing the tree into a living collective commemoration. In this event memories of ones who’ve passed away and living memories are brought together in a soundscape consisting of whispered recitations of the plaques from the donated benches and trees in the park. In collaboration with Angela (Liu) Wang and Alexandra Jönsson.
Southend-on-Sea (UK), 2010
Google Autocomplete across languages: most queried word combinations with “I’m having my period”.
This research was part of the DMI Summer School project I did in week two: Menstrual Issues Across Language Spacess
Astrid Bigoni | Zuzana Karascakova | Emily Stacey | Sarah McMonagle
with a big thanks to:
Federica Bardelli (designs)| Giulia de Amicis (designs) | Han-Teng Liao (technical and linguistic advice)
What questions do women ask google regarding menstruation?
Google’s database of Google Autocomplete suggestions per language (and country).
Where the predictions come from (source: support.google.com):
“ As you type, autocomplete predicts and displays queries to choose from. The search queries that you see as part of autocomplete are a reflection of the search activity of all web users and the content of web pages indexed by Google.”
The DMI’s Google Autocomplete tool https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/ToolGoogleAutocomplete
Read more for method, operalization, findings and all the datavisualisations
MAIM expo 2010: We Are All Transistors
The end of year expo of the MA Interactive Media: Critical Theory and Practice at Goldsmiths, University of London where I showed an interactive installation of one of the Movement-Moving Machines projects (see this post).
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Urban Projection is a video mapping project for MediaLAB at Hogeschool van Amsterdam. I was the line manager and creative producer during this collaboration with 4 video artists with whom we created this video mapping event at Rhijnspoorplein (Wibautstraat/Mauritskade), one of the busiest junctions in Amsterdam. The evening of video art projections on a 7-storey building was one of the first large scale video mapping events in the Dutch capital.
May 2009, Amsterdam, The Netherlands