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http://www2.baldwinw.edu/~rmolmen/150dir/150mt_written_rev.html
An algorithm is a set of instructions with four special characteristics.
1. It is complete; all the steps are there, in the right order.
2. It is correct, it always gets the right answer.
3. It is finite; there is a stated way to know when it's done.
4. It is executable; all of the instructions can actually be carried out.
http://www.gmcc.ab.ca/~supy/lec01.htm
Fundamental role of algorithms
An algorithm is a set of instructions that directs the execution of a task
baking a cake (recipe)
playing music (sheet music)
complex mathematical calculation
More precisely: A finite set of unamibuous, executable instructions that
directs a terminating activity (ch 4)
Once an algorithm is found, you no longer need to understand its principles
That is, the intelligence is encoded in the algorithm
Because computers can implement many algorithms, they exhibit intelligence
Conversely, no algorithm means a computer cannot do that task
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2)
In the 1970s Trisha Brown did two performances in particular which were
based on "algorithms for dance". These were Accummulation (and it's various
manifestations) and Locus. The instructions or *algorithim* for
Accummulation is as follows...
"The accumulation is an additive procedure where movement 1 is presented;
start over. Movement 1; 2 is added and start over. 1,2; 3 is added and start
over, etc., until the dance ends. Primary Accumulation accumulates thirty
movements in eighteen minutes. The 29th and 30th movements each cause the
figure to revolve 45 degrees, making a 90-degree turn with each completion
of the sequence. Therefore, a 360-degree revolution occurs in the last two
minutes of the dance, giving the audience three alternate views of the dance
before finally stopping." (TB in The Drama Review, Post-modern dance issue,
T-65, March 1975.)
The algorithm for Locus can be found in several books, including
*Contemporary Dance* edited by Anne Livet. New York: Abbeville Press, Inc. 1978.
The point is that these dances precisely fit the definition of an
*algorithm* as stated above: it is complete; all the steps are there, in the
right order; it is correct, it always gets the right answer; it is finite;
there is a stated way to know when it's done; it is executable; all of the
instructions can actually be carried out.
More loosely applied many many of the task-dances, rule games, scores and
other devices which dancers of that period, in particular from the Judson
Church period, used for making dances could be seen as fundamentally
algorithmic in structure. There was also an ideology being applied at the
time -- in the work of Brown and others in the way they created these dance
making devices so that they could be performed by anyone. The reason they
'always get the right answer' is based in part on an aesthetic which has
evolved from the chance work of Cage and Cunningham. The 'ideology' in
particular is expressed in Yvonne Rainer's famous 'no' manifesto written in
1965. --- "NO to spectacle no to virtuosity etc." ---
Try it... you do not need any 'dance' training in order to perform
'accummulation'.
In this instance the dance algorithm allows a 'non-dance specialist' to
create and make a dance. Just as the computer algorithms are responsible for
allowing us 'non-computer specialists' to do extremely complex things just
by manipulating the mouse and typing in the keyboard.
Well -- that's a bit of a stretch... but thought these comments might flesh
out the recent slightly more specialist discussion regarding *algorithms for
dance*.
3)
The interesting thing about dance algorithms like 'accummulation' is that
they can be adjusted to fit other objectives. For example, for my
composition class we have done 'accummulation w/ objects' and also used the
Locus structure (which is fundamentally the same as Laban's 26 point cube --
although I have never seen it mentioned anywhere in the T.Brown
documentation) -- by collapsing it from points in space to points on the
surface of the body and using it to construct duets. Suddenly Trisha Brown
looks more like DV8...
Best,
Scott
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Scott deLahunta and Susan Rethorst
Writing Research Associates, NL
Sarphatipark 26-3, 1072 PB Amsterdam, NL
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