RE: undemanding...

Johannes Birringer (
Tue, 24 Aug 99 17:17 +0100

Andy wrote an interesting polemic, which I feel should give us pause, as it
suggests that we look at new dance (if it experiments with technologies and a
new aesthetic) from the point of view of digital aesthetics.

<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.
<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/technology work is produced
<(or led) by choreographers who...ignore this body of knowledge - resulting in
<work that is undemanding, unambitious, uninformed and uninspired.

Something similar could be said about video and music (music video), I am sure
you agree, and we could look at how musicians or filmmakers work with dance or
choreograph movement in their media and their narratives, remaining within their
aesthetic parameters yet experimenting with other languages.

New dance has gradually, cautiously expanded its parameters, and we did have
good discussions on web-based/online dance or motion capture-derived works
(although we haven't perhaps looked in great detail at installations which may
go up in visual arts, gallery/museum or exposition contexts, off-stage in other
words, and thus may be perceived not primarily as dance but, on the contrary, as
visual art, media art, digital art, imaging technology).

The question of aesthetics and content, however, hardly gets addressed in our
forum, I never get a response to interpretive commentaries I make, and therefore
conclude that aesthetic content and form that exceed the conventional dance
platform (stage, dancers, a projection screen nearby, somewhere) are not of much
interest to our forum, and the "technologcal innovativeness" of course is
another question, one that is often discussed here in terms of equipment and
interfaces, but rarely in terms of h o w a new (dance-derived) artwork
challenged perception of a wider audience, provoked a new desire, reflected on a
social condition or cultural environment or scientific problem, for an audience
that is knowledgeable about current ideas and visualizations in music, film,
visual art, science.

However, I am sure we can argue about this. I mentioned Company in Space, Jools
Gilson-Ellis/Richard Povall's work, Ghostcatching, Riverbed, in recent postings,
and my interest was not so much in technological innovation but in how these
artists think about their interaction with digital media, what they can do
(move) which they couldn't before, and why they move in this way. I said the
same at the recent NORDIC SOLO dance festival, I am looking not at dance,
necessarily (when I see a solo on stage), but at the integrity of the dancer's
mixed media composition, the way she or he creates image-movement or image-time,
and moves me.

best wishes,

Johannes Birringer
AlienNation Co.