Mabel’s Corridor


Mabel’s Corridor is a performance that explores the mind-maze of a dementia patient named Mabel. Her stories (both real and imaginary) are told through various mediums including contemporary dance, projection art, and 16mm film.

The audience are observers of Mabel’s fragmented memories, and her distortion of time and place. Research for the piece involved interviewing someone suffering from dementia; the photographs, videos, and interview sound bites are based on her stories — some taken directly from her life.


Typographic Entanglement


We explore an interdisciplinary collaborative process through the lenses of Situated Actions and Distributed Cognition. These frameworks are adapted from the field of Human Computer Interaction to illuminate components of the decision making process. We approach this study through Participatory Autoethnographic methods by recounting a recent collaboration on an interactive dance performance project. We reflect on actions taken in order to explore how the distribution of cognition and modes of communication affect the authority guiding the project. We present collaboration as actions take from knowledge situated in the communal content developed by the team. By exploring this process in a performance-as-research context, signifiers emerge that help us to understand the role of authority in the decision making process.

Carlson, K., Corness, G., Schiphorst, T.,(2010)  Plan, Action, Collaboration: Reflecting on an Interdisciplinary Collaborative Process, Proceedings from The Embodiment of Authority Conference, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland, September 10-12, 2010.



Scuddle is a computational tool that was designed to influence and facilitate the generation of movement material, making the creative process (more) Present at Hand.  The tool uses a Genetic Algorithm to create ‘movement catalysts’ that provide a body position, height and effort qualities. The fitness function is based on heuristic rules designed from Laban and Bartenieff Fundamentals.  The system is used by asking a choreographer to generate a movement vocabulary based on the ‘movement catalysts’ and to use the catalysts to create a short solo work. Phenomenological interview techniques are used to facilitate choreographer’s discussion of the experience, focusing on how decisions are made as opposed to why they were made.



Contemporary dance is an experiential and time based art form with few available analysis techniques. Our design facilitates structural analysis of dance performance by codifying and plotting expert viewer information. ActionPlot is then useful to experts familiar with choreographic strategies and illustrates three levels; viewing for interpretation or meaning, for structural or performative information or for detailed movement information. Plotted elements include the number of performers, the performer’s attention and intention, the amount of effort used, tempo of the effort, the balance of the movement within the body and the time the action is performed. This process conveys information about the viewing experience in context, allowing the user to see structural and performative patterns, similarities and differences while comparing between two works. We detail our motivation, design decisions, implementation and a qualitative evaluation for the presented system.

Carlson, K., Schiphorst, T., & Shaw, C. (2011). ActionPlot: A Visualization Tool for Contemporary Dance Analysis. Presented at the In Proceedings of Computational Aesthetic 2011 Eurographics Workshop on Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization and Imaging, Cae’11, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Fleeing From Darkness


‘Fleeing From Darkness’ is a prototype of an interactive web application that explores the possibilities for replicating and engaging users in the practice of Neon Sign Tubebending. The project is currently in the wireframe state, with drawings for potentially interactive processes.

This project reflects an attempt to more deeply identify embodied knowledge in craftsmanship in order to engage in dialogue about the presentation and reproduction of such knowledge.

‘Fleeing From Darkness’ seeks to explore the possibilities for identifying and replicating certain components of intangible, embodied knowledge as a craft that reflects the heritage of 20th Century urban communities. However, the ability to identify and reproduce aspects of embodied, intangible knowledge is very difficult to do. This knowledge is often more easily explored and portrayed as the cultural significance and history of a particular practice.

While I have attempted to replicate certain processes of tubebending in ways that provide some insight into the skills required, it is simply not possible to fully attain this form of knowledge without the live, practical process of learning, trial and error.

This project illustrates steps in the tubebending process with the ability to design your own sign through a variety of interactive applets. The application steps the user through 5 steps: Design the sign blueprint, Bend the glass, Bombard and add the appropriate gas, connect the sign to current to be Burnin In, and finally apply paint to Blockin Out unneeded sections of tube light.

Illusion of Togetherness


This project investigates how audience’s process of perception affects their experience of connection with a performer in a mixed reality environment. The audience’s own kinesthetic perception may be viewed as an integral part of their communication with the performer. The increased use of media on stage has challenged the audience’s positioning in relation to the performer, both physically and conceptually  but requires further refinement . We believe that an understanding of the audience-performer connection can support the development of a poetics of reception for the use of media on stage. We present a performance-based study designed to give audience members a heightened awareness of their perception with an emphasis on the motion happening in the space behind them: their ‘back-space’. Through this study we bring insight into the relationship between the audience’s experience of perception and their perceived connection to a performer.

Corness, G., Carlson, K., Schiphorst, T. (2011) ‘Audience Empathy: A Phenomenological Method for Mediated Performance’, The 8th ACM Conference on Creativity and Cognition, In Press. Nominated for an Emma Award for Best Contribution to Creative Communication.



Distancing is an installation by Erin Ashenhurst and Kristin Carlson that plays with the themes of memory and narrative. To remember is to give meaning to personal experience. Over time, the nature of memories change as they fall subject to the filter of perspective, new information, and the process of forgetting. Photographs become documentation, creating a sense that the details of an experience are fixed and knowable.

In Distancing (2009), the viewer is presented with the projection of an image that could be read as a family photograph. By entering into close proximity with the projection, the viewer triggers the animation of the image and becomes a participant in the installation. As the image reveals itself to be a video, subtle changes in content begin to occur. Expressions fade and shift, forcing the participant to rebuild any speculative narrative they’ve developed to explain the visual content. By changing their distance from the screen, the participant can move through the series of images, exploring alternate truths and constructions.

Evolver | Evolutionary System for Creative Design


This project explores the conceptual and implementation shift from a creative research-based evolutionary system to a real-world evolutionary system for professional designers. In an effort to improve an existing autonomously creative system, DarwinsGaze, for use with real-world designers, and with multi-person creativity in mind, we began working with a noted design firm exploring potential uses of our technology to support multi-variant creative design iteration. This second generation system, titled Evolver, provides designers with fast, unique creative options that expand beyond their habitual selections that can be inserted/extracted from the system process at any time for modular use at varying stages of the creative design process. This work has been published by the International Conference on Computational Creativity.