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January 31, 2006

A Node Within a Network:


An Examination of Online Dance

"Abstract: The essay's opening section identifies the pioneering photographic work of Eadweard Muybridge as a catalyst for development in the cinema and technological industries during the twentieth century. This section also examines how key developments in both of these spheres, such as the emergence of a body of screen-specific dance work, and the growth of digital and new media arts practices, have fed into the genesis of online dance work as a potentially distinct genre. These elements are also examined in relation to the creation of Motion Studies (2003).

The essay's second section begins the process of inquiry into the nature of online dance work utilising a set of criteria developed by U.K. based choreographer Richard Lord. Using these criteria, a range of online dance content, such as promotional websites, webcasting and information databases are examined. These, however, ultimately fail to conform to the requirements for categorisation as online dance work. Five dance works created for Internet-specific presentation by British and U.S. artists are also examined and analysed as a means of determining properties or approaches common to the creation of online dance. The practical, artistic and technical issues involved in the creation of Motion Studies are also outlined in this section, including discussion of the role of the choreographer within current practice, and the importance of improvisation as an element within the piece.

The next section locates Motion Studies within the theoretical context of Donna Haraway's writings on feminism and the applications of advanced technologies, as outlined in Simians, Cyborgs and Women (1991). Haraway's concept of cyborg imagery is also examined in relation to the experience of choreographing and viewing Motion Studies, with a further examination of the enabling potential of technology as it relates to the creation and experience of viewing dance work. Wider issues in the current debate surrounding the use of technology in dance, as put forward by Don Ihde, Susan Kozel and Sherril Dodds, are also discussed.

In the essay's final section, a range of barriers to the creation of online work, such as lack of specialist technical skills within the dance community; the difficulties of attracting audiences, and the current emphasis on the commodification of dance, are examined. The issue of categorisation of online work is revisited, identifying several trends and similarities from within the sample study group, subsequently reaching the conclusion that it may not currently be helpful to insist on too rigid a definition of this type of work at such an early stage of its development. The essay concludes with a final evaluation of the processes involved in the creation of Motion Studies." From A node within a network: an examination of online dance work with particular reference to Motion Studies by Chirstinn Whyte (2003) [via Hyperchoreography]

Posted by jo at January 31, 2006 09:42 AM