Re: algorithms for dance

Nick Rothwell (
16 Apr 1998 09:30:53 -0000

> Because computers can implement many algorithms, they exhibit
> intelligence

I really don't know what such a statement is doing in an introductory
computer science course (or any other course, for that matter). It is,
of course, rubbish. The implementation of multiple algorithms really
dates back to the work of John von Neumann on the original, primitive,
stored-program computers decades ago - the basic design of computer
we're still using today. The ability to run multiple algorithms makes
a computer general-purpose at best. The ability to implement
abstractions, manipulate code as data, and do (self-referential)
symbolic calculations seems to interest the AI fraternity, but any
claims for computer "intelligence" are pretty bogus.

We did an algorithmic dance piece years ago, based on combinations of
the Laban movements and set into a large 3 x 3 square marked out on
stage using horizontal naked 6' striplight tubes. The musical score
was not so much algorithmic as process-based (where the software
systems are interpreting gestures from control surfaces) - the
distinction between algorithmic music and interactive music is rather
artificial - but there was a distinct procedure of interaction between
dance and music as the Laban variations were sequenced.

> Suddenly Trisha Brown looks more like DV8...

Ooh. Scary.

        Nick Rothwell, CASSIEL            contemporary dance projects            music synthesis and control

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