Re: why dance on the web?

Richard Lord (
Sat, 9 Jan 1999 14:21:40 +0000

When we start talking semantics, I usually step out of the conversation.
It rarely interests me. But I've been so involved in this thread I feel
compelled to respond. I'm sorry Amanda but I have to disagree with you.
The English language is rich because it evolves - new words are created
and old words take on new meanings. If I refer to "web dance", do you
have some idea of what I mean? will you attempt to understand what I
mean? or will you insist that I'm talking about something that doesn't
exist, despite the fact that I'm convinced that I've created three web

Web can be an adjective as well as a noun, just as video is. I know a
video doesn't dance, but neither does it signal, although video signals
exist. Video dance seems to refer to dance on video, and as such I
consider it a welcome addition to the English language. The same applies
to web dance.

For me, web dance means dance existing on the web. Web is an abbreviation
for the worldwide web and as such the web is not the internet. Hard
drives and telephone lines are not part of the web, although they are
part of the internet. The heart of the web is the hypertext transfer
protocol (to which the "http" at the start of web addresses refers). The
best definition I can give for the web is that the web is the sum of all
computer data available for acquisition via http. So, if a dance can be
accessed via http it is a web dance. I have made three dance works which
are choreographed specifically for accessing via http and these are web

As for internet performance: is theatre performance a technical term
referring to how effectively the theatre is performing at any given
moment in time, or is it a performance in a theatre? It could mean either
and from the context of it's use we deduce the meaning. Internet
performance could be a measure of how effectively the internet is
performing, but it may also be performance on the internet or performance
using the internet. It's not a term I use so I'm not clear what I may
mean by it, but I understand that it may have more meanings than just how
effectively the internet is performing.


Richard Lord
Big Room

>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.