RE: de-corporalize me

Yacov Sharir (
Fri, 06 Aug 1999 02:00:11 -0600

<x-rich>Hi Jennifer

You wrote,

>Merilyn's input was very close to my heart, being a dance writer as well.

I agree, Merilyn's input was very close to my heart too.

> I am at a loss as to what to call dancing computer images and would also
>like your ideas. I find it difficult to call the images "dancers" as I
>have spent my life associating the term "dancers" to live bodies in
>motion. So what might be an alternative term?

I suggest we are the physical dancer and they are the cyberhumandancers....
we are the real, and they are the perceived, (at times) however, they can
be many other things, such as our counterpart and so on.

What would be interesting is if we would consider allowing some time for
experiencing what it is we are creating how they behave in performance,
and what it is we are actually seeing. We are all currently looking very
hard, maybe we could wait a bit until we can actually see something, and
then sort-out things.

If you have access to a server with some free space, I would consider
forwarding to you some of my latest studies I have created/animated of
cyberhumandancers. They are becoming more and more expressive.

Best, Yacov...



>-----Original Message-----

>From: Merilyn Jackson []

>Sent: Saturday, July 31, 1999 7:32 PM


>Subject: Re: de-corporalize me


> <<<< File: ATT00003.html >>

>Clarifications from this writer slash critic. I use the term for myself in

>that way because I am uncomfortable with the term critic. I write about

>dance because it is one of several subjects of abiding life-long interest to

>me. And although I love to criticize (those closest to me would say "live

>to") almost everything, I am keenly sensitive to using criticism (or the

>title of critic). I prefer, simply, dance writer because I like to describe

>what I think I saw for those who couldn't be there and to frame (you can

>read contextualize if you must) or reframe what I saw for those who were.

>Unless a work is at the extremes of good or bad, good criticism is a hit or

>miss thing in an overnight review, and I am chided by my colleagues

>and readers for not having been harsher or more ebullient. So, until we

>find a better term, hence writer/critic.

>As for "techno-artist", absolutely no belittling was intended by the

>enquoting. This term is even newer, as Jeff suggests, and for some very

>successful integrators of technology and art in many fields, it is and will

>become even more so, an honorable title. Will techno-artists be content

>with that? I suspect Isabel Choiniere will want to be known as a

>choreographer and Todd winkler as a composer. Others will dub themselves.

>For instance, photographer, Bill Ravanesi, began calling himself a civic

>photographer when his subject matter and multivalanced exhibitions demanded

>a new appelation. I like either Jeff's or Greg's? performance
>technologist, for some instances.

>Yes, unfortunately enquoting sometimes does denote belittling, but sometimes

>it merely means to set something off because it is not yet clear that that

>is what it is, and so forth. Ceci n'est pas...


>You asked:

>of a dancer on a screen, where they can see, for example, facial

>expressions, which are responding and "connecting" to the audience, is that


>You do seem to realize that it is not merely facial expression with which an

>audience member might connect. If that were so, we would never connect with

>Merce's dancers, whom we rarely actually see smile or otherwise emote, but

>in whose faces we do often see a kind of sublime inner knowing, that

>translates or communicates itself to the other dancers and that I feel

>strongly when bodily in their audience. At Biped, I felt at first as if I

>were watching television (the scrim gave me the impression of an undusted

>screen) and later, when the images were projected on it, I felt the delight

>I experienced as a small child when drawing over the screen on my Rootie

>Kazootie plastic sheet. The size of the venue does in fact matter --

>greatly. In Biped's case (or in any of Bausch, Meryl Tankard's and other

>large scale works) the large performance space works because it gives the

>audience a chance to view the totality of the work. Other pieces fail in

>such spaces because they really are meant to be viewed intime, or to have

>multiple small focuses.

>You may try to convince me and others like me that dancing on a screen is

>dance and not a representation of dance. But I was the only one in my class

>the psych teacher couldn't convince that a set of pyrimidical horizontal

>lines was in fact a triangle. The question is, why would anyone working in

>these new areas want to use an old term? Why wouldn't you be looking for

>new definitions, or better yet, hoping to be undefinable?


>Kent, you wrote that you didn't think the white-bubblelike floating shapes

>worked in Biped. If you are talking about the motion-capture figures, what

>I found most intriguiging about them was how they turned into a nearly solid

>vertical line when the body was sideways and motionless -- like unstrung DNA

>in contrast to the ghostly fractility of the other projected figures. It

>gave this atheist and comically unmathematical person some imagery to think

>of when trying to figure out where my cast-off atoms and the atoms of my

>loved ones have gone.

>For the freedom of your atoms and mine, Merilyn