why dance on the web?

Amanda Steggell (maggies@pobox.com)
Fri, 8 Jan 1999 18:53:58 +0100 (MET)

Hi, I'm offering this to the list in response to the question, why dance on
the web?
It is not disimilar in some aspects to the posting by Richard Lord, 7.1.99
and it may seem a bit finicky.
It is an extract from a mail I sent to Lisa Naugle last year following a
request from her to answer the following questions:

>Do you see a difference between the Web Dance and Internet Performance?
>If so, how would you define the features of each?

Web Dance.
Web Dance does not exist.
To elaborate, the term Video Dance has been roaming around since the
eighties, and is used to describe video works involving the notion of
dance in some way. However, a video is a video is a video. A video does not
dance, though it can contain mediated dance material. Video Dance is
therefore an empty label. The same applies to Web Dance.

You could possibly say that you could make a "web dance" through a process
of programming and scripting, but the dance would be executed by moving
bodies which are not necessarily human. The result may not be called
dance, but does it matter?

Therefore, the closest I can come to defining Web Dance must be a
choroeographed or improvised movement (of bodies) in and out of hard drives
and telephone lines. For example, the intricate movement of bots and search
engines, each with their own designed and restricted patterns of behaviour,
scurrying through thier indigenous environment of machines and networks,
collecting and delivering information.

Internet Performance.
To me this is a technical term refering to how effectively the internet
functions at any given moment in time. However, I do acknowledge performing
artists using the Internet as one of several platforms in the execution of
their artistic work.

(------- commercial break ------------------- Motherboard will be
performing a retro-show of M@ggie's Love Bytes from 1996, at the Arc,
Stockton, England, Jan 22-23rd ------------ and yes, we will be receiving
and transmitting via the net:) ------------------)

Having been seduced into using the Intetrnet as a platform, or one of
several platforms, for the excution of their work, the challenge for
performing artists, choreographers, and the likes, may be to develop both
interfaces and methods of working and presentation which evoke the type of
less mediated response inherrent in traditional performance forms while
operating on a highly mediated platform. It is a question of giving the
interface a (surf)face. "Depth" emerges through the interplay of the two
with the imagination of the public, and a common ground must be established
for dialogues to occur.

I think that artists entering the digital arena must be prepared to see
the surface of their work alter and methods change.

best wishes, amanda

Tel:+47 22563507 Fax:+47 22172611
Oscarsgt. 49, 0258 Oslo, Norway.