Computational Poetics Session 6

Structuring Session for Choreography

As usual, its easy to make up structures on paper, but difficult to implement in the studio. I am so out of my body these days! its so painful.

I spent some time attempting to explore structuring options in DanceForms. However, while I could draw and edit spatial pathways, it is extremely tedious to do. I can now manage to highlight sections of movement in the timeline and move them around or apply a single joint change to it, but I can’t do anything more complex than that. So, I’m going back to the tried-and-true method of designing structure ideas on paper.

My first structure try on paper : 3x3x3 as movement types (gesture/ angle/ slouch pedestrian), movement size (small/ med/ large), space options (in place/ linear intention/ curvy) then its just spatial patterns – is it too typical to do a set progression (constantly moving upstage/ downstage) or mapping movement type/ size to a location (YES!).  So then I draw a random/ nonsensical map.

This is my nonsensical map:

When I finally got around to trying out the map I made, I found total freedom in the process.  As long as I could remember what I needed to vaguely do in the general order and location, my body could figure out something interesting in that place.  This session I only did 2 run throughs after marking my way through and imagining movement initiation/ transitions.

The first run through flowed smoothly – no hangups, pretty interesting phrasing, and I naturally found movements and sections of movements to create themes – chunks of movement that could return again and again in different areas of the ‘choreography’. While i didn’t plan on these chunks to be the ‘meaningful’ pieces of the dance (I assume that because they return and repeat that they will be perceived that way) they just seemed to be the easiest choice or transition to return to, that made the most ’embodied’ sense.

CP Session 6 1st Run

The second run felt even stronger – i could do the same thing but with more pauses, more elaboration and stronger use of ‘themes’.

CP Session 6 2nd Run


This process stresses even more the need to have a ‘sensical’ decision to make. Really, I just need to make a decision and do it and it will develop itself (well, my body knowledge will develop it). Obviously if I continue to explore this process, the structuring phase could take many many iterations, and exploring performance options, lighting and scenography will make it look like an actual ‘choreography’.

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Computational Poetics Session 3 Improvising and Using Integrate and DanceForms

Session #3 Part 1

Functional: Recorded movement warmup, earlier phrases and new gesture improvisations in Integrate system.
Technical issues of creating a work flow through unlimited movement captures has been difficult. This includes rotation of movement, turning, using low levels (i.e. crouching), with a leg extension over 90 degrees. Any unusual movements that don’t match to the skeleton’s possibilities have the same response as motion capture losing a marker (to ‘shiver’ or collapse totally). This is a large loss of precision in the data, which could sometimes be viewed as an added movement ‘style’, but this was used much in the 1990’s, and seems a bit dated to continue using.

However, between re-performing my own movement (mediated by time) and recording it into Integrate (mediated by devices) it could be mediated enough to be another dancer without me needing to try hard to make a ‘different’ dancer.

Next plans include thinking ‘editorally’: whether the current movement material should be shoe-horned into a composition (I would devise an outside structure and impose it on what I’m working on so far) or keep this as a ‘study’ where I would just label each chunk and play/show/perform them consecutively. The little chunks each have different perspectives on the same vocabulary, a common thread, so imposing a structure/ meaning/ exploratory perspective to help shape the movement ideas might be useful

While the back and forth between computational thinking and embodied thinking is still difficult, it can also be useful when shifting between generating movement material and editing it. There are so many available movements, and so many ways to perform them, that it is easy to work only from habitual places. Scuddle still provides a new perspective to work off of which helps with generation. Though after generation I’m not sure how the computer can support my process as much, because there is SO MUCH data lost in the capture/ ‘avatarization’ of the computer that I am re-interpreting everything the same way I am with Scuddle and it is cognitively a very heavy load.

Computational Poetics Session 2 Using DanceForms and the Integrate System

Session #2:

Shifting gears between computation and embodied exploration is difficult, mainly because computation affords the ability to generate, edit or change any idea later on. This can be both useful and dangerous: it makes it easier to spit out creative ideas now, but more difficult to put deep thought and evaluation into them in the moment.

Technical issues also take a lot of time away from embodied exploration and compositional development.

** The use of memory in composition is strong, and supported by computation. It has been interesting to ‘follow’ my own video of movement from a few weeks ago and view it as a remnant of myself rather than my current self. It almost makes me play the ‘dancer’ to my former choreographer self because I don’t have the same memory of the movement. So in a way, I am already putting in the artificial intelligence experience that I would hope the computer system could someday have by just re-learning my own material in a new way.

Computational Poetics Session 5 Explorations Between System and Choreographer

Documenting choreographic process that explores computational systems as a collaborator in the creative process.

Preparation for Class Final Presentation:

  • High level effects for movement performance/ decisions – in lifeforms
  • Add ‘ghost’ or ball to illustrate weight in an avatar?
  • How to explore materials with dance – forming materials onstage in situ?

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Mainly I am exploring how to get away from body shape and more into structural decisions/ effects on top of the body shapes.
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Sometimes its necessary to just choose a direction/ decision, act on it and then re-analyze and tweak it later. Scuddle seemed like a good balance of information for movement inspiration for a body layer.

Can I find a similar way of looking at structure/ further away from body?

How to provide the right inspiration throughout the process at the right times?