International Conference on Dance Data, Cognition, and Multimodal Communication

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Title of presentation "Digital-born artworks and interactive experience: documentation and archiving" - By Paula Varanda

Abstract: On the course of intensive research since 2009 a corpus of artworks that instantiate dance performance in cyberspace have been identified and analyzed in order to understand how expert-practitioners used new technologies for production as well as the new means of public dissemination that they enabled. This meant focusing on ‘data-based’ movement and its composition in order to articulate the artworks in their a-priori technological structure and aesthetic form (i.e., before they initiate audience transactions) and in their interactive modes of becoming ‘live’. In depth examination of these processes was undertook with three case studies: a) the web works of Company Mulleras (96 Details, France 2006-2009) that expand the potential of kinaesthetic play; b) the I-phone piece micro-dances by n+n Corsino (Soi Moi, France 2010) that promotes poetic and somaesthetic encounters; and c) the telematic installation that connects four remote locations into a common ‘cyberstage’ by Joseph Hyde in Me and My Shadow (UK 2012), which stimulates creative embodied interactions.
I have discussed elsewhere the implications of the above case studies for themes like the ontology of performance (2012 and 2016), the body-mind split debate 2013, the development of the dance medium (2014 and 2016), and social experience with digital embodiment (2014). The proposal for this conference is to research in the theme of documentation and preservation of digital-born artworks, which Paul defines as consisting majorly of software based work that “utilizes the digital medium’s inherent characteristics, such as its participatory and generative features” (Paul, 2016, p. 2).
Dance Studies have always carried the task to preserve the knowledge about an ephemeral expression that relies on the body and movement as primary materials (Carter, 1998); the evanescent and corporeal nature of dance has also significantly affected its recognition and dissemination (Thomas, 1995). This has informed a resourceful number of practices and studies (as in deLahunta and Shaw, 2008; Fernandes, 2013; Whatley, 2013), that contribute to the subject of this conference and the Black Box Art and Cognition Project.
Although based on code computing and electronic display, the born-digital artworks are also vulnerable to fast disappearance because the digital storage methods that they rely on change and develop very quickly, and thus we are at risk of loosing a whole period of the art history of our time (Grau, 2016). Furthermore, how do we report and document the audience experience of interactive artworks that is constituent to their identity? Atempting to safeguard the place of these practices in the history of contemporary dance and new media art is paramount to increase public recognition and visibility in the future; furthermore, this contribution to knowledge allows rendering the artworks as subjects for arts and humanities research. I shall present referential ideas and methods that have been developed in the new millennium, in order to avoid the redundancy that looms over the creative endeavours that make use of commercial technologies and in only so few years may became something of the past.
Period19 Sep 201921 Sep 2019
Event typeConference
LocationLisbon, PortugalShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Digital Art
  • Dance
  • Performance
  • Interactivity
  • Documentation
  • Preservation