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April 23, 2007

Of Skins and Screens: Hyperdance, Haptic Cinema, and Contact Improvisation



"...The browser window opens onto a nightmarish vision of death, disembodiment, and decay engulfed in the darkness of a black screen. Dancing specters and haunted souls—casualties of digital media—appear throughout Somnambules, a hyperdance piece. A small but growing genre of dance and new media, hyperdance [1] shifts the material conditions of dance creation and spectatorship by considering the computer screen a site for dance performance. Combining visual art, music, and dance by collaborating artists Nicolas Clauss, Jean-Jacques Birgé, and Didier Silhol, respectively, Somnambules emphasizes the computer user’s body in navigation and exploration. The user’s motion, confined as it is to the small geographies of mouse or trackpad, and the user’s physical contact with the image, similarly confined, stand out in this piece as compared with other hyperdances. [2] Users affect onscreen motion through their own movements, which operate simultaneously with qualities of touch (click, drag, mouse, etc.): motion and touch work in tandem at the mutually-defining sites of the user’s body and the image. Drawing attention to the piece’s cinematic and choreographic components, I explore movement and touch as both objects of interaction and means of interaction in Somnambules. I further tease out specific modes of bodily interaction, working toward a more nuanced understanding of bodily engagement in the broader fields of interactive and responsive media..." From Of Skins and Screens: Hyperdance, Haptic Cinema, and Contact Improvisation by Harmony Bench, Extensions Journal.

Posted by jo at April 23, 2007 10:05 AM