Re: undemanding, unambitious, uninformed and uninspired

John Simmons (
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 03:04:01 -0400

Well put.

Andy Clarke wrote:
> There has been a great deal of debate on the list recently about what
> constitutes dance in dance/technology work, but I feel that there are other
> more fundamental issues that need to be addressed.
> I feel that there is a lack of truly innovative work involving dance and
> technology, and that work in this area is being held back by what is, at
> best, extreme conservativism and, at worst, creative laziness. It would
> appear, for instance, that dance is the only area in which using a video
> projector to provide an animated backdrop is worthy of note and constitues
> "using technology" - in any other field, it is rightly regarded as being so
> trivial, it is not worth mentioning.
> The continued emphasis that is placed upon the choreographer and their
> dancers - and the way in which digital artists are regarded as
> "technicians" (by implication working at the service of the choreographer's
> "vision") - prevents them having a meaningful collaboration as equals on
> work that truly interesting and innovative.
> Digital art has its own body of work, its own established genres,
> aesthetics and conventions, and its own language (both technical and
> critical). It seems as though most dance and technology work is produced
> (or lead) by choreographers who think that they can "do" new technology,
> and so ignores this body of knowledge - resulting in work that is
> undemanding, unambitious, uninformed and uninspired.
> A number of established names in dance and technology have simply been
> ploughing the same narrow creative furrow for a long time, or using the
> most obvious tools in the most obvious ways. This has lead to a pervasive
> lack of innovation and ambition at every level.
> It is a shame that the original debate on this list was started by a work
> as poor as Brownian Motion, as it made any argument in favour of new
> technology seem like the defense of the indefensible.
> There is both good and bad digital art, but the presence of poor digital
> art should not encourage those involved in dance to retreat into just the
> safe and easy uses of new technology - such as producing animated "virtual"
> dances, projecting these animations as the backdrop to a real performance,
> using telematic performance, and so on - and still claim that this is
> pushing the boundaries.
> Andy Clarke
> ------------------------------------------------
> Andy Clarke
> 78 West Kensington Court, Edith Villas,
> London, England W14 9AB
> 44 (0) 171 602 3382
> Programmer of "Soma" and "The Dance Project"
> Both at The New Talent Pavilion, Milia '98
> ------------------------------------------------