Re: Theater Technology vs Dance Technology

Claudio Pinhanez (
Wed, 1 Oct 1997 04:48:05 GMT

Mark, Scott

> In many ways I see Theater and Dance overlapping in terms of the electronic
> expressions that could benefit both. I think that to make them distinct,
> one has to focus on the primary difference in the two forms, namely, the
> presence of the spoken word in theater.

I think that the primary distinction is that theater is driven by
ACTIONS. Movements and words are only particular ways that the
characters used to accomplish objectives through acting on each
other. Theater is a lot about story, about coincidence in time, about
a preparation for developments in the future (in the directions put
forward by Suzane Langer in "Feeling and Form").

But I do think dance and theater are facing similar problems when
trying to integrate technology. Unlike music, the language and
structure of theater and dance can not be easily represented to a
computer. I discuss this issue in the paper I presented at ISEA'97

Comments and critiques are welcomed....

Right now, I'm working on a theater piece at the MIT Media Lab, where
the computer plays one of the characters in a pantomime. The play is
called "It/I", is inspired in some texts by Beckett, and will premiere
in the middle of November (more details soon). The computer character
"looks" to the scene through cameras, and "acts" through computer
graphics images on stage screens.

More information coming soon,


Claudio Pinhanez

MIT - Media Laboratory 20 Ames Street - Room E15-368C Cambridge - Massachusetts MA 02139 - USA

Tel: (617) 253-0335 Fax: (617) 253-8874 E-mail: URL (research): (personal):