Professor Ludmila Pimentel
School of Dance at Federal University of Bahia, Brazil, Dean of
Electric Cyberdance Research Gr...
ABSTRACT
• In the 60's of the 20th century, Allegra Fuller Snyder presented
three categories of interfaces between dance a...
ALLEGRA FULLER SNYDER
PROFESSOR EMERITA OF DANCE AND FORMER DIRECTOR
OF THE GRADUATE PROGRAM IN DANCE ETHNOLOGY AT UCLA/ S...
GRETCHEN SCHILLER MOTION CAPTURE
BODY, AMUC PROJECT.
MERLEAU-PONTY
• What are the forms of embodiment that cinedance
and mediadance categories promote?
DOTSDANCE(2004) BY LUDMILA PIMENTEL AND FLOR
LIBERATO
• It is our intention to deepen some reflections on the relationship
between dance, film and video by composing and unitin...
INTRODUCTION
• According to Professor Allegra Fuller Snyder "it is often said
that dance is ephemeral and therefore eludes...
BILLY ELLIOT.LFA(2005) BY LUDMILA PIMENTEL
BILLY ELLIOT.LFA(2005) BY LUDMILA PIMENTEL
• The first dance films were made by ethnographers and
choreographers for their own use and research, they used film
as re...
MAYA DEREN
ALEGRA FULLER SNYDER S CATEGORIES
• In the 60‟s of the 20th century, Snyder (2) proposes three
different categories of dan...
ALEGRA FULLER SNYDER S CATEGORIES
• The second one is dance film documentary, in which the
choreography, although keeps fi...
• finally, cinedance, the most complex of the three
categories because it is in this category that Snyder
proposes experim...
ELECTRIC BODY(2000-2006) BY ELECTRIC CYBERDANCE
RESEARCH GROUP
ELECTRIC BODY(2000-2006) BY ELECTRIC CYBERDANCE
RESEARCH GROUP
• We propose that Cinedance includes the
contemporary artwork productions that use computer
graphics software, video-editi...
• The bodies generated by the film industry and all
current editing features, allowing the representation
of bodies endowe...
THE MATRIX (1999)
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS (2004)
• Many of these experiments invite the public to move
through various locations and nuances of the
movement, as for exampl...
I(NTERACTIVE) ARCH BODIES (2007-2010) BY LUDMILA
PIMENTEL AND MARIANA CARRANZA
I(NTERACTIVE) ARCH BODIES (2007-2010) BY LUDMILA
PIMENTEL AND MARIANA CARRANZA
• Snyder considers that the new possibilities of cinedance invite
and bring the body of the public audience closer and mor...
I(NTERACTIVE) ARCH BODIES (2007-2010) BY LUDMILA
PIMENTEL AND MARIANA CARRANZA
• And what would be mediadance?
• Mediadance is a term coined by Gretchen Schiller to
designate a category of art that encompasses all
contemporary dance ...
For Gretchen Schiller [4] mediadance is one of the
many forms of art that integrate computer-based
technologies, including...
• We can consider together with Schiller that the work of Loie
Fuller represented a breakthrough in Dance History, in the
...
• In the contemporary dance interface with digital
technologies, there are several types of experiments that can
serve as ...
• In the 80 's of the 20th century, a group of researchers in
graphic interfaces of the Simon Fraser University
(Canada), ...
• The examples of works that fits in Snyder‟s
mediadance category are widespread, and include a
huge variety of formats: d...
• Dance CD-ROM, as Improvisation Technologies
(1999) created by William Forsythe, Frankfurt Ballet
and the ZKM in Karlsruh...
• and interactive digital dance and screen-based
dance as the works of Frieder Weiss, Chris
Ziegler, Johannes Birringer an...
4DREAMING(2012), SLASH GROUP AMSTERDAM
• Schiller illustrates in her thesis how the interface of
the body with the digital technologies interpolates
layers, pass...
First of all, we have to ask ourselves, what is the body
of mediadance?
• In our understanding, the body of mediadance proposed
by Schiller is not much different, in essence, of the body
of a da...
• Further, Schiller’s develops the idea of the “dancing body” as a
“body-medium”, based on Rudolph Laban’s notion of
”kine...
• “The world is not an object such that I have in my
possession the law of its making; it is the natural
setting of, a fie...
• For Merleau-Ponty, the space surrounding the body is a
continuum of the body, or the “fleshspace”
• “Fleshspace” , for u...
“That means that my body is made of the same flesh as the
world, and moreover that this flesh of my body is shared by the
...
• Laban/ Kinesphere
• Schiller/ Kinesfield
• Merleau-Ponty/ Fleshspace
• Merleau-Ponty dismantled dichotomies as form/content or
interior/exterior, and insisted that we give meaning to things
t...
KITCUBODANCE(2011) BY ELECTRIC CYBERDANCE
RESEARCH GROUP
• For Merleau-Ponty, the body comprises the logic of
the world beyond the perceived and fixed in the here
and now.
• Therefore, for Merleau-Ponty, perception is always
informed by what he calls a “body schema” (schéma
corporel), which is...
• Our body is "our general means of being-in-the
world. Sometimes the body limits itself to act the
necessary gestures for...
• We attempt here to apply Merleau-Ponty‟s concept of
body to mediadance and propose the body as a
“fleshspace”, a sort of...
CONCLUSION
• We propose that mediadance category (Schiller)
updates cinedance category (Snyder)
• We believe that in the n...
• Each of these experiences and creations developed
by choreographers in the category of
mediadance, form a new field of s...
• We conclude that the unprecedented forms of
transiting in hybrid reality environments that emerge
with the new technolog...
• Our proposal was to revisit Merleau-Ponty‟s
concept of embodiment, together with Schiller
theorethical basis of mediadan...
embodiment Schiller body fleshspace Merleau-Ponty body
concept mediabody Snyder cinedance Schiller concept em
kinesfield k...
Allegra Snyder AND Gretchen Schiller interfaces: an application of Merleau-ponty´s  Concept of Embodiment  for cinedance a...
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Allegra Snyder AND Gretchen Schiller interfaces: an application of Merleau-ponty´s Concept of Embodiment for cinedance and Mediadance Categories

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Presentation at Somatics Conference, Coventry University, England, 2012

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Allegra Snyder AND Gretchen Schiller interfaces: an application of Merleau-ponty´s Concept of Embodiment for cinedance and Mediadance Categories

  1. 1. Professor Ludmila Pimentel School of Dance at Federal University of Bahia, Brazil, Dean of Electric Cyberdance Research Group at LaPAC Laboratory, Brazil, Postdoctoral studies and Professor Collaborator at xm: Lab, Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar, Germany, with CAPES sponsorship, and Partner of Slash Lab Amsterdam Doctor Mirella Misi Independent artist and researcher. Founder of Slash Art Tech Lab, Amsterdam. Partner of Electric Cyberdance Research Group at LaPAC Laboratory, Brazil. ALLEGRA SNYDER AND GRETCHEN SCHILLER INTERFACES: AN APPLICATION OF MERLEAU- PONTY S CONCEPT OF EMBODIMENT FOR CINEDANCE AND MEDIADANCE CATEGORIES
  2. 2. ABSTRACT • In the 60's of the 20th century, Allegra Fuller Snyder presented three categories of interfaces between dance and film, one of them the cinedance. In 2004, Gretchen Schiller uses the term mediadance to refer to art practices that integrate digital technology and electronic media into choreographic work. • This paper develops the main idea that this kind of art and new categories begin and return to the body, promoting in last instance new sensual experiences for the contemporary body, and still checking the notion of embodiment involved in this processes.
  3. 3. ALLEGRA FULLER SNYDER PROFESSOR EMERITA OF DANCE AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE GRADUATE PROGRAM IN DANCE ETHNOLOGY AT UCLA/ SYNERGETICS SYMPOSIUM 2005
  4. 4. GRETCHEN SCHILLER MOTION CAPTURE BODY, AMUC PROJECT.
  5. 5. MERLEAU-PONTY
  6. 6. • What are the forms of embodiment that cinedance and mediadance categories promote?
  7. 7. DOTSDANCE(2004) BY LUDMILA PIMENTEL AND FLOR LIBERATO
  8. 8. • It is our intention to deepen some reflections on the relationship between dance, film and video by composing and uniting some theoretical propositions made by world-renowned names in this theme, as the references of Professor Alegra Fuller Snyder and Professor Gretchen Schiller. We are also interested in proposing the idea that these new categories generate new kinds of bodies, so in this way we choose to revisit Maurice Merlau-Ponty‟s thoughts on phenomenology of perception for theoretical support to reflect upon the forms of embodiment that these categories promotes.
  9. 9. INTRODUCTION • According to Professor Allegra Fuller Snyder "it is often said that dance is ephemeral and therefore eludes documentation. The reality is that dance is multidimensional, perhaps the most complex of all expressive forms"(1), therefore it multiplies in shapes and possibilities. In this sense, film or video are not considered only as media but also as art forms, which on the intersection with dance generates new art categories with their own nature and language, as the example of videodance and more recently screen-based dance. • See: www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub84/documentation.html
  10. 10. BILLY ELLIOT.LFA(2005) BY LUDMILA PIMENTEL
  11. 11. BILLY ELLIOT.LFA(2005) BY LUDMILA PIMENTEL
  12. 12. • The first dance films were made by ethnographers and choreographers for their own use and research, they used film as resorts to document non-choreographed traditional and popular forms of dance. One of the important examples we can mention, that connect the world of cinema and ethnography, is the partnership of the anthropologist Pearl Primus with the choreographer Katherine Dunham (between the years 1930 to 1940). In the interface between dance and film, Maya Deren is one of the pioneers, with a vast experimental production (from 1943 to 1985), playing an innovative role on those times and still influencing contemporary artists.
  13. 13. MAYA DEREN
  14. 14. ALEGRA FULLER SNYDER S CATEGORIES • In the 60‟s of the 20th century, Snyder (2) proposes three different categories of dance in its interface with film and video. The first category is simple recording: this is the video recording of a dance piece in its stage format, that is to say, the choreography was designed primarily to be performed by human body dancers in a fixed time, in a theatre, for an audience. The choreography is not composed for video but for live dance performance and is recorded with a single camera that registers a single point of view. • A. F. Snyder, “Three kinds of Dance Film”, Dance Magazine, vol. 39, pp. 34-39, 1965.
  15. 15. ALEGRA FULLER SNYDER S CATEGORIES • The second one is dance film documentary, in which the choreography, although keeps fidelity to the dance narrative, is adapted to filmic language by the use of several cameras, close-ups, differentiated shots, and other technical possibilities of film capturing and editing. This allows a deeper exploration of the interface between dance and film in the production of videodance and short films
  16. 16. • finally, cinedance, the most complex of the three categories because it is in this category that Snyder proposes experiments and artistic works which present new body types: bodies that exercise themselves in transcending the biological possibilities of the human body architecture, no longer submitted to the laws of gravity, generating new dancing body configurations. Snyder states that this category offers opportunity for intense experimentation and introduces a new basis for the creation of a new art.
  17. 17. ELECTRIC BODY(2000-2006) BY ELECTRIC CYBERDANCE RESEARCH GROUP
  18. 18. ELECTRIC BODY(2000-2006) BY ELECTRIC CYBERDANCE RESEARCH GROUP
  19. 19. • We propose that Cinedance includes the contemporary artwork productions that use computer graphics software, video-editing, 3D animation and any other sort of digital technology for moving images. It includes as well the telematics dance works, interactive dance and Live-Motion Capture. It is in this category that the digital bodies appear, configured by special effects and endowed with qualities that are impossible for human physiology.
  20. 20. • The bodies generated by the film industry and all current editing features, allowing the representation of bodies endowed with the ability to fly, spin horizontally, rotate numerous times without fatigue and without losing balance, and so on, are also part of the cinedance category, as we see in films such as The Matrix (1999), House of Flying Daggers (2004), between many others or yet with dance works fully created on digital platforms with animation software such as Lifeforms, Maya, Poser, Blender, 3DStudio and Motion Builder.
  21. 21. THE MATRIX (1999)
  22. 22. HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS (2004)
  23. 23. • Many of these experiments invite the public to move through various locations and nuances of the movement, as for example proposed in interactive installations based on movement or in dance performances that require the audience body to interfere in order to be configured or seen.
  24. 24. I(NTERACTIVE) ARCH BODIES (2007-2010) BY LUDMILA PIMENTEL AND MARIANA CARRANZA
  25. 25. I(NTERACTIVE) ARCH BODIES (2007-2010) BY LUDMILA PIMENTEL AND MARIANA CARRANZA
  26. 26. • Snyder considers that the new possibilities of cinedance invite and bring the body of the public audience closer and more into the transformative experience of dance; even if the audience is sometimes positioned in fixed places, watching cinedance gives you the opportunity to dance internally, "feeling and moving" to and through virtual and real ambients, in a proposition that introduces alternative forms of kinesthetic perception of "space, dimensions, depth, non-gravity, time, motion, and also an expansion of a new logic, rhythm and reality”(3). • A.F.Snyder, op.cit.
  27. 27. I(NTERACTIVE) ARCH BODIES (2007-2010) BY LUDMILA PIMENTEL AND MARIANA CARRANZA
  28. 28. • And what would be mediadance?
  29. 29. • Mediadance is a term coined by Gretchen Schiller to designate a category of art that encompasses all contemporary dance works in which the digital elements are integrated with the choreographic elements as a compositional component and explores innovative forms of representation of the body as well as the expansion of body perception. It can include interactivity in its experiments.
  30. 30. For Gretchen Schiller [4] mediadance is one of the many forms of art that integrate computer-based technologies, including interactive art, net art, virtual reality, technologically mediated performances and videogames. It is, therefore, an extensive category that embraces different types of artistic objects and several configuration forms of interfaces between dance and digital technology. • G. H. Schiller, The kinesfield: a study of movement-based interactive and choreographic art, University of Plymouth: School of Computing, Faculty of Technology. England: University of Plymouth, 2003.
  31. 31. • We can consider together with Schiller that the work of Loie Fuller represented a breakthrough in Dance History, in the late nineteenth century. • Fuller used lights not just to make the scene visible but also to create atmospheres; she used artifacts to extend and multiply her body image, or even to transform it into animated shapes: • “the particularity of Fuller's extension, projection and technologically - altered body sets a historical precedent for movement-based interactive installations in terms of the way in which screens, media and body together trans-figure embodiment through processes of technological-mediation and alter and or extend the medium of the body” [5]. By doing so, Fuller brought a new and revolutionary concept of body into the world of dance, which is now widely explored and implemented within the realm of mediadance. • G. H. Schiller, op. cit., pp.114..
  32. 32. • In the contemporary dance interface with digital technologies, there are several types of experiments that can serve as examples of the concept of mediadance proposed by Schiller: • David Rokeby, in his work Body Concert for two cities(1986), constructed a kind of “magnetic field” (with three cameras, some sensors and a computer) which resonated with the passage of a body, • Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Bill Kluver, Robert Rauschenberg, in the Variations V (1965),
  33. 33. • In the 80 's of the 20th century, a group of researchers in graphic interfaces of the Simon Fraser University (Canada), led by Thomas Calvert and Thecla Schiphorst (a graphic designer who previously worked as a professional dancer) developed the computer program “Lifeforms” • Michael Noll (6), who in 1966 wrote the first motion graphic software. It was a platform electronically sensitive in which written numbers were translated into animated figures shown as body-toothpicks (sticks). The body- toothpicks appeared on the screen immediately after the numbers were written, i.e., in real time. M. Noll, “Choreography and Computers”, Dance Magazine, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Art Alliance, 1966 e M. Noll, “The Beginnings of Computer Art in the United States”, Leonardo Almanac, pp. 39-44, 1994.
  34. 34. • The examples of works that fits in Snyder‟s mediadance category are widespread, and include a huge variety of formats: digital dance created with the use of software that enables real-time interactivity with the movement of the performer, such as “Isadora”, developed by Troika Ranch Dance Theater (USA) or “Eyecon” developed by Palindrome Intermedia Performance Group (Germany);
  35. 35. • Dance CD-ROM, as Improvisation Technologies (1999) created by William Forsythe, Frankfurt Ballet and the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany; • the works of telematics dance developed more intensely after the late 90‟s, and mentioned by Sita Popat and Jacqueline Smith-Autard (7), Bytes of Bryant Park (1997), by Stephan Koplowitz; Progressive 2 (1996) by Richard Lord and Maggie s love Bytes (1996) by Amanda Steggell as well as other more recent developed by Konic Thtr; • S. Popat, J. Smith-Autard, “Dance-making on the Internet: Can on-line choreographic projects foster creativity in the User-Participant?”, Leonard Journal of the Internacional Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, vol. 35, no. 01, pp. 31-36, 2002.
  36. 36. • and interactive digital dance and screen-based dance as the works of Frieder Weiss, Chris Ziegler, Johannes Birringer and Alien co., the Slash Lab group, Electric Cyberdance Research Group and the OpenEnded group…
  37. 37. 4DREAMING(2012), SLASH GROUP AMSTERDAM
  38. 38. • Schiller illustrates in her thesis how the interface of the body with the digital technologies interpolates layers, passes through materiality, and thus becomes a new composition of other dynamic materials and media, reconfiguring itself. Agreeing with Schiller‟s proposition we would still have to reflect about this new corporeal stage, about the contemporary body that falls within the category of mediadance, revisiting Merleau-Ponty‟s concept of embodiment.
  39. 39. First of all, we have to ask ourselves, what is the body of mediadance?
  40. 40. • In our understanding, the body of mediadance proposed by Schiller is not much different, in essence, of the body of a dancer performer on physical stage • She uses as reference Eugênio Barba‟s concept of the „fictive body‟ on theatre to define the dancing body. The „fictive body‟ is a “psychophysical technique by which the performer creates a network of external sensations in reaction to physical gestures”(8) To create the conditions for a fictive embodiment` it is necessary to alter the “mood state”, what means, to recall imagination and memories to create an internal reality (diverse from the ordinary live reality), in which the “fictive body” takes the lead. • G. H. Schiller, op. cit., pp.50.
  41. 41. • Further, Schiller’s develops the idea of the “dancing body” as a “body-medium”, based on Rudolph Laban’s notion of ”kinesphere” (in which he engages movement and space as a medium) and Birdwhistell’s notion of “kinesics” (“movement transactions” of the body in its environment, body language) to apply to her concept of “kinesfield”, which describes what we consider here the type of embodiment that occurs in mediadance performance, an intertwined body-space experience in which temporality is unfolded in multimodal relational dynamics. And it is in this aspect that we can relate the body-medium of mediadance with the concept of field of Merleau-Ponty.
  42. 42. • “The world is not an object such that I have in my possession the law of its making; it is the natural setting of, a field for, all my thoughts and all my explicit perceptions” (9) Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, Northwestern University Press, Introduction,1969.
  43. 43. • For Merleau-Ponty, the space surrounding the body is a continuum of the body, or the “fleshspace” • “Fleshspace” , for us, describes the interconnection between the body and space
  44. 44. “That means that my body is made of the same flesh as the world, and moreover that this flesh of my body is shared by the world, the world reflects it, encroaches upon/invade it and it encroaches upon/invade the world (…) they are in a relation of transgression or of overlapping” (10) Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, Northwestern University Press, pp.248,1969.
  45. 45. • Laban/ Kinesphere • Schiller/ Kinesfield • Merleau-Ponty/ Fleshspace
  46. 46. • Merleau-Ponty dismantled dichotomies as form/content or interior/exterior, and insisted that we give meaning to things through a corporeal and behavioral path and therefore, the perceived world (perception) is the original instance through which we apprehend the inter-subjective world. • For Merleau-Ponty, the subject of perception is the body and not the consciousness. That is why the subject is not the source of the sense, but just gathers a sense already given by the phenomena. However, if we perceive with the body, this means that the body is not the thing, but that the body collects a sense on the thing that is presented to it.
  47. 47. KITCUBODANCE(2011) BY ELECTRIC CYBERDANCE RESEARCH GROUP
  48. 48. • For Merleau-Ponty, the body comprises the logic of the world beyond the perceived and fixed in the here and now.
  49. 49. • Therefore, for Merleau-Ponty, perception is always informed by what he calls a “body schema” (schéma corporel), which is a condition of cognition, as embodiment is a condition for being in the world. “I am conscious of my body via the world,” he says, just as “I am conscious of the world through the medium of my body”(11) • Body as medium • M. MERLEAU-PONTY, op. cit., pp.82.
  50. 50. • Our body is "our general means of being-in-the world. Sometimes the body limits itself to act the necessary gestures for the preservation of life and, correlatively, put around us a biological world; another times, by playing with its first gestures and passing from its own sense to a figurative sense, the body expresses through gestures a new core of signification: this is the case of motoric habits such as dancing”(12) • M. MERLEAU-PONTY, op. cit., pp.203.
  51. 51. • We attempt here to apply Merleau-Ponty‟s concept of body to mediadance and propose the body as a “fleshspace”, a sort of „network‟ that crosses through everything and is transversed by everything; in mediadance the body crosses over different media and technologies and is also transversed and reconfigured by it. We suggest there must exist no antagonism between body and technology.
  52. 52. CONCLUSION • We propose that mediadance category (Schiller) updates cinedance category (Snyder) • We believe that in the new architecture of mediadance category there is an implicit philosophical condition that enables us to be harmonic within the spatial context that we live, in which we are immersed; this is a performative relational architecture that invites participation and comprises the digital.
  53. 53. • Each of these experiences and creations developed by choreographers in the category of mediadance, form a new field of studies open to analysis and aesthetic evaluation of this new interface.
  54. 54. • We conclude that the unprecedented forms of transiting in hybrid reality environments that emerge with the new technological possibilities of contemporary culture demand a close and deep reflection not only on the kind of embodiment that they promote, but as well on the new forms of significations that the embodiment upheaves, as the experience of “being-in-the-world” acquires a different quality with the incorporation of different forms of relationship between time, space and body.
  55. 55. • Our proposal was to revisit Merleau-Ponty‟s concept of embodiment, together with Schiller theorethical basis of mediadance and kinesfield to update this theoretical context.
  56. 56. embodiment Schiller body fleshspace Merleau-Ponty body concept mediabody Snyder cinedance Schiller concept em kinesfield kinesphere Laban Schiller Merleau-Ponty body bo categories spacetime fleshspace bodydance dancebody concept Fuller Maya Deren film dance video categories embodiment Merleau-Ponty body categories kinesfield Gretchen Loie body Ludmila Mirella Pimentel Misi Electric Slash body lab body Schiller body fleshspace dance kinesphere Laban mediadance

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