Test_Lab: Dancing Around Technology

Recent artistic Research and Design projects have been exploring the relation between humans and machines within the field of performing arts with very exciting results. Examples of such projects in development will be presented, demonstrated, and tested in Test_Lab: Dancing around technology. This Test_Lab aims to introduce to practitioners in the performing arts new ways of adopting technology in their field, and invites those working in this field to debate about the relevance of (future) technology for their practices.

Feb 2007
19:00 to 22:00
location: Eendrachtsstraat 10

Featuring: Carolien Hermans, Armando Menicacci, Thecla Schiphorst

Test_Lab is a bi-monthly public event organised by V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media that provides an informal setting for the presentation, demonstration, testing, and discussion of artistic research and development (aRt&D).

Over the last decades, most artistic disciplines have been introduced to technological developments. In many artistic fields, the technologies introduced have been fully integrated in the artists' daily practices resulting in an integration that often makes it hard to imagine the field ever existed without them. However, in the field of performing arts (physical artistic expression such as dance and theatre) this integration did not evolve as naturally. Although many attempts have been made at adopting new technologies in these fields, the marriage between the two was often forced, resulting in what was rather a combination of technology and performing arts than integration of the two.

One of the main aRt&D themes of the V2_Lab is the development of sensor and actuator technology for the fields of performing arts and human-machine interaction. This Test_Lab aims to bridge the different needs of and approaches to technology between performing artists and soft-, hardware designers. This will be realized in this edition of Test_Lab through the testing of two projects that are currently under development in the V2_Lab; Soft(n) and Body In Bits And Pieces. A theoretical presentation by Armando Menicacci will further elaborate on the theme. Both the two projects and the presentation are described below. Soft(n) is the working title for an interactive public art-experience developed in a collaboration between Thecla Schiphorst (Director of the Whisper[s] research group, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver) and V2_Lab, within the framework of the Passepartout consortium.

This project is based on exploring emerging network behavior through interaction between a group of soft networked objects. It takes place in a social urban setting; a café or lounge. The work incorporates the design of a group of interactive soft objects, each containing a specially designed and custom-engineered multi-touch soft input surface, motion detectors, an ability to output movement (vibration), light, sound and physical deformation, and communicate wirelessly to each other. The project includes the development and testing of an interaction model based on input heuristics of touch and movement. An earlier version of the project recently won the Gold Exhibition Award at the ITEA 2 symposium.

Body In Bits And Pieces (BIBAP) is an interactive Internet project initiated by Carolien Hermans (Director of DansLab, Amsterdam) and is funded by the Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NPS) and the Stimuleringsfonds voor Nederlandse Omroep Producties. A prototype of the project was developed in collaboration between Danslab (Carolien Hermans and Benjamin Scheers) and V2_Lab. The aim of the project is to integrate a dance movie in an interactive Internet application and to create an interface that requires physical interaction to enhance the immersion of the user. The project combines physical expression in two ways; by cleverly integrating dance movie clips in the application and by enabling control over the application by body movement of the user. Armando Menicacci is the director of MediaDanse (University Paris-VIII / ANOMOS, Paris). Menicacci will present how the body movement analysis theory and practice developed in University Paris-VIII lead to new relationships between dance and digital technology in some contemporary artworks and fundamental researches created and conducted by his research group. By doing so, he will show how MediaDanse forms a structure of exchange between the fields of academic and technological research, networks of artistic creation, cultural action, and the general public.

Related links:
ANOMOS: www.anomos.org
Whisper[s] research group: whisper.surrey.sfu.ca


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