Description



Written by Sofía Muñoz

The “Colloquium on Interdisciplinary Creation/Research Methodologies: Art, Body and New Technologies” took place between August 8th and August 10th, 2016. It featured artists, theorists and university professors from various regions of the world, who came together with the purpose of sharing different perspectives about interdisciplinary artistic work associated with new technologies. The Colloquium was organized in presentations and included a discussion panel with the speakers at the end of each day.

Throughout the Colloquium, a series of debates and topics arose that gave it a particular stamp. The purpose of this document is to gather the main topics and issues emerged within the Colloquium, both during the presentations and the discussion panels, as well as introduce the main questions that guided this event, such as: What do new technologies linked to the body enable us to do in art? Does technology play an exclusive role in revealing aspects that we usually can’t see, such as internal aspects of our body? What methodological challenges are involved? Which interdisciplinary methodologies were used? Are these methodologies transferable?




1. Methodologies in Connection with New Technologies: Complexity, Challenges, Potentialities and Transformations.



In the first discussion panel with the speakers on Monday, August 8th, there was an extensive debate about the different implications of interdisciplinary work associated with the use of new technologies. It was pointed out that in a way, “we have to struggle with technology”, as it implies a great challenge. However, it also constitutes a fundamental place from which we can rethink the artistic creation methodologies that cross different disciplinary fields.

In his presentation entitled “Using a Body-Worn Sound System as a Tool for Interdisciplinary Research” (day 3), Felipe Otondo described his interdisciplinary project about the creation of a sound vest that the dancers had to wear for the purpose of interdisciplinary research. The vest was conceived as part of a dance project based on three lines of work: creativity, functionality and acoustic performance. In this sense, it worked with a mobile sound that allowed analyzing movement and music through dance. In his presentation, Otondo shows us this complexity while considering the dance work of the performers. In this regard, he presented various recordings and study videos where the performers were interviewed about the implications of dancing with a device like the sound vest on them. One of the questions asked precisely what the limitations of the system were when making movements. Both the dancer and the choreographer answered that more than limitations, there is a challenge that offers new possibilities for movement and dance, also taking into account their historical relationship with sound and music.

The challenge for interdisciplinary creation mentioned by various speakers also involves different ways of rethinking the work methodologies of each discipline. Creative methodologies merge and transform into interdisciplinary work, but still consider the work modes already developed by each one.

In the presentation by Francisca Morand and Javier Jaimovich entitled “Interdisciplinary Methodologies within the Project Emovere: Dialogues among Design, Interaction, Sound and Dance”, Morand comments that the various disciplines involved in the project have different production modes, which require different times and spaces, as well as different materials to work with. This meant that were was a need to combine sessions with the dancers as a group and separately in order to be able to understand how they functioned together and develop the pertinent work methodologies. On the other hand, the speaker also mentions the need to consider the disciplinary methodologies and their conjugation with other disciplines in interdisciplinary work. Regarding dance, Morand highlights, for example, the importance of analyzing movement, its decomposition and re-composition towards a particular form of it, in addition to studying the performers’ subjective experiences. The active role of the stage performer, she states, is essential both for the phase of exploration and discovery of the possibilities offered by interdisciplinary work and the creation phase. “The dancer narrates, associates and translates the entire time”, Francisca says. In turn, technology provides the dancer and the choreographer with the possibility to generate new dance languages.

In this sense, disciplinary methodologies also play a central role. They are also transformed and merged with other work methodologies, or new forms are developed. José Miguel Candela, in his presentation entitled “Hearing and Dance: Interaction, Perception and Action”, also refers to the analysis of movement and how it becomes a tool for interdisciplinary creation. The speaker tells us that the first research phase of his project was based on the Laban Movement Analysis, developed by dancer and dance theorist Rudolf Laban, considering the three elements of the category of effort: time, energy and space. These factors were measured by the Kinect camera in order to develop an expressive-musical observation and response system through affective computing. In addition, an interface capable of modifying itself in order to generate an assertive, expressive attitude through music was generated based on the performer’s physical performance. This way, a computer response for the readings of the Laban factors was created. In this regard, Candela speaks about an “encounter between two worlds”, namely between modernist thought as developed by Laban and the world of affective computing, less predictable, with a different complexity and more difficult to measure.

In their presentation entitled “Choreography and Composition of Internal Time: Biosensors as an Intervention in Creative Practice” (day 2), Teoma Naccarato and John MacCallum argue that even though both of the disciplines in question, music and dance, are characterized by rigor and training, which they value as artists, they also seek to deconstruct their established work modes in order to discover the potentialities that may engage in dialogue when they come together. “The types of frictions or tensions that are created are something that we value”, they say. And from them, they can generate different creative methodologies. In one of their studies and experimentations with patterns of relationality and an electrocardiogram conducted in one of their residencies, they worked with a dancer and a musician who, faced with irregularities, difficulties in the environment or different forms of pressure, resorted quickly to their most familiar forms of work. The speakers state that it was necessary to develop not only a methodology, but also a specific form of work pedagogy in order to generate the necessary disciplinary crossings, which meant having clarity regarding how to engage people in these types of practices or how to develop a type of multifaceted and peripheral relational listening.

In this sense, on one hand, the creation methodologies proper of each discipline still play a fundamental role in interdisciplinary projects associated with new technologies. But on the other, they are transformed or challenged, giving rise to new questions and places of creation, whether more or less radical.

With regard to the foregoing, in his presentation entitled “Discovering New Instruments in Old Scores: A Repertoire-Driven Approach to Designing New Music Interfaces”, Michael Gurevich refers to new technologies by stating that the design and construction of instruments is also considered a musical composition, where playing someone else’s instrument not only means playing their instrument but playing their composition. This situation, linked to the design of new instruments or interfaces, subverts the usual or classic order based on which the roles and elements involved in the creation of an instrument, the composition with the instrument and its execution are understood and conceived, as well as the roles within a creative team. Likewise, the execution of an instrument-composition can be understood as a way of playing or even designing someone else’s instrument, which allows for new invention and creation possibilities. Just like other speakers, Gurevich highlights the importance of understanding that our own devices can also function creatively, developing creative responses to stimuli and demands.

In her presentation entitled “Computerized Choreography and Intermedial Complexity: Dance and the New Media”, Katja Schneider also refers to the aforementioned point. Schneider notes how contemporary choreographers have modified their choreographic creation methodologies with the use of technology, especially in the case of computer-edited choreographies. Merce Cunningham, for example, conducts choreographic work through computer programs, thus generating new possibilities of exploring and inventing movement through computing in order to base the choreographies on this multimedial instrument. In this sense, Cunningham generated material computationally, where the computer was capable of inventing new movements. Regarding Cunningham, Schneider notes that using the “Life forms” software, the computer offered figures that were not anatomically possible but were then adapted for choreographic work. In this regard, Schneider stresses that the use of new technologies generates new ways of exploring and accessing new fields and new dramaturgies.

Regarding the latter, in his presentation entitled “Creation, Dramaturgy and Technology in Performing Arts in the Expanded Field”, Rolando Jara explains how the role of dramaturgical work has been rethought in performances that involve the participation of new media. First, the author suggests the idea of an “expanded field” as a means of referring to the opening of the place of enunciation in interdisciplinary creative processes. In other words, how the place from which each discipline is positioned is expanded when considering the link with other disciplines. In fact, the author notes that he uses the word “dramaturgy” just like he could use the notion of choreography or choreographic work. In this convergence of various elements, Rolando Jara, as a dramaturge, suggests considering technology as an additional body that dances or performs, which inhabits the sound space and is there in its obsolescence. Jara claims that thinking of technology as obsolescent allows understanding it as a contingential body, an organism just like the performers, and considering them both equally in dramaturgical work. This way, dramaturgy can consider interaction as an additional corporality that must be intertwined through dramaturgical work, which in turn allows generating a scene in relation to the spectator. Ultimately, this is the role of dramaturgy in the expanded field, where by being present in the process of elaborating the materiality, everything that is there is considered as a body in order to then form a relationship with others in space.

Therefore, new technologies in interdisciplinary creative processes offer the possibility to rethink and rearticulate the constellations of notions and elements within the different disciplines in question. Creation methodologies are transformed and acquire a hybrid character; they merge, or other new ones emerge. In the end, new technologies constitute a device that allows expanding the languages in the context of an interdisciplinary horizon.



2. Capture and Transformation of Physiological Signals.



Starting in the 1960s, the re-appropriation of medical instruments for capturing and using the body’s physiological signals became an interesting material for artistic creation. Although today the use of technology in art is not restricted to medical technology, it is still an area under constant exploration that continues to be a rich source and is experiencing multiple transformations in relation to new technologies.

The aforementioned involves a vast series of alternatives and complexities that gave the Colloquium a particular stamp. The capture of physiological signals, their “creative translation” into a different materiality (for example, sound), the association with the body and dance, the relationship between science and art, the various places of creation and production, as well as the issues derived from them, provided a rich field for theoretical and methodological discussion during the Colloquium.

In their presentation entitled “Choreography and Composition of Internal Time: Biosensors as an Intervention in Creative Practice”, speakers Teoma Naccarato and John MacCallum describe how they developed a series of projects through artistic residencies in various countries around the use of biosensors that allowed capturing the heart rate. In this sense, biomedical technologies played a central role in their capture and interdisciplinary work. Both of them were interested in temporality, in time and pulse in music, as well as in the body of the dancer. They sought to deconstruct the classic notions through which these tempos were understood and put into practice. The physicality of the body, its temporalities and research using biosensors enabled an interesting course for these questions, especially based on the derivation of the dancer’s musical time, where an attempt is made to alter the internal clocks and investigate the corporalities that emerge. The variability of the heart, the lack of rhythmical constancy in its pulse, led them to ask themselves whether it was possible to influence the variability of the heartbeats. They started to discover certain patterns of variability through breathing, eventually searching for various forms of breathing that came from numerous practices around the world, which were captured using biomedical technologies and allowed them to find the materials for creation. Therefore, in their projects, they constantly make use of scientific research materials for artistic creation, combined with other materials and tools from other areas.

An interest in capturing physiological signals was addressed by numerous speakers also in connection with the sensitive field, that is, regarding the senses. For example, in her presentation “Kinesthetic Representation System”, Milena Gilabert refers to the role of the sense of touch in the interaction with new technologies. In one of her projects, she used a copper grid in order to translate touch into sound. The participants were invited to actively contribute in the process of generating this sound through a tactile experience. Gilabert notes that this way, people entered into a sensitive relationship through touch and sound, which in turn questioned the perceptive modalities of relationality, generating new relational modes by means of a sensory rediscovery.

It is worth mentioning that although most of the projects and methodologies presented and described during the Colloquium were associated with the capture and transformation of physiological signals, as noted earlier, at the nexus between art, body, new technologies and science, a part of them was also linked to the capture of affections and emotions.

In his presentation “Research at the Nexus of Science, Engineering, Art, and Design: Forging a Pathway from Imagination to Innovation”, Benjamin Knapp tells us that he used physiological indicators of emotion related to sound in one of his projects. In the performance, the spectators were also using sensors that measured their affections, which in turn influenced the music or sound. He explains that the audience even came to think that there were proximity sensors because the sound changed when he moved closer to the people in the audience. However, the sensors measured the affectedness of the body, which was altered by his presence.

In this sense, the topic of emotions and affections, their capture as a correlate of physiological signals and the artistic development associated with music and sound was one of the Colloquium’s key topics. Like several speakers pointed out, this involves both the theoretical and practical study of emotions and affections, for example, who defines them and how, how they are differentiated, what constitutes them, what are their physiological correspondences, how they can be identified and measured, and then what body, dance and creative possibilities they generate. Around these variables, the various presenters in question have developed numerous strategies and methodologies for interdisciplinary work.

In their presentation entitled “Interdisciplinary Methodologies within the Project Emovere: Dialogues among Design, Interaction, Sound and Dance”, Francisca Morand and Javier Jaimovich presented and analyzed their own interdisciplinary work methodology for the project “Emovere: Body, Sound and Movement”, where a dialogue was established between dance and sound in association with the work conducted with emotions and their capture. Francisca Morand was in charge of the area of dance and Javier Jaimovich was in charge of the area of sound and interaction design. Together, they carried out an intense interdisciplinary work that combined, on one hand, a body exploration phase by the dance performers based on the Alba Emoting1 emotional activation method, and on the other, an exploration phase linked to the use of digital sensors in charge of capturing the physiological signals that would have an aural correlation. The speakers explain that both processes were subsequently followed by a performing creation phase that combined choreographic work, sound composition and visuals.

In his presentation entitled “Large-Scale, Distributed Studies of Emotion and Media: Methodological Strategies and Applications”, Brennon Bortz tells us that in one of his projects he sought to address the relationship between music and affection in the sense that music constitutes a fundamental place for the generation of affections and intensities through musical stimuli. For this purpose, he first conducted a theoretical investigation regarding emotions and affections in order to be able to measure them later through facial and body expressions. This way, it was possible to record “multimodal affective data” in order to then study emotion and affection in relation to the movement of the body. An experimental device was generated from this based on a “flexible methodology” designed for interdisciplinary work.

Speakers Claudio Fuentes, Federico Schumacher and Arturo Pérez conducted a study that establishes a relationship between musical and sound listening and emotions, affections and empathic processes. In their presentation, entitled “Multimodal Methodologies for Analyzing the Musical Experience”, the authors indicate that they sought to investigate the role of the spatialization of sound and the empathic, cognitive and affective processes involved in musical and sound listening. For this purpose, in one of their projects they developed a quantitative methodology and a qualitative methodology. The former was aimed at capturing physiological signals through the electrodermal activation produced by the response given to a controlled musical listening, that is, in the context of a research laboratory. The latter was aimed at collecting an account of the participants’ emotional experience. Through both methodologies, the team sought to study the different emotional and affective responses associated with different musical stimuli.



3. The Unpredictable Nature of Creation and the Role of Improvisation.



The unpredictable nature of the interdisciplinary creation associated with new technologies is addressed by various speakers. Not only does it become a huge challenge, but it is also embraced as a way through which we can establish creation methodologies. Therefore, it is there where improvisation plays an important role.

In their presentation entitled “Choreography and Composition of Internal Time: Biosensors as an Intervention in Creative Practice”, Teoma Naccarato and John MacCallum referred to the notion of “reproducibility” as a fundamental methodological aspect for sound and choreographic creation. It is about managing to discover that which can be “reproducible” so it can constitute material that allows having a foundation for creation. For example, in one of their projects, they worked with the dancers’ heart beats, which were captured by biosensors and performed musically. First they searched for patterns of variability of the heart in connection with the movement. In other words, they investigated which patterns were replicable and could be transformed into materials that could be used to create, also taking into account that there can never be a total reproducibility. In this sense, they discovered, on one hand, that there was a certain level of reproducibility, and on the other, that it was possible to influence the variability of the heart to some extent through certain contextual and body patterns (such as breathing). Although one of the exercises involved synchronizing the hearts of two performers for example, the speakers claim that there will always be at least a certain level of unpredictability.

This unpredictable nature mentioned by various speakers provides the work methodologies with certain particular characteristics. On that note, methodology is something that is always under construction; it is always subject to redefinition and rediscovery. Sometimes it is even necessary to strike a new path and reinvent it.

Based on the foregoing, improvisation plays a fundamental role in exploration and research, as well as in interdisciplinary creation. It becomes a key piece from which we can test, try out and discover the various potential paths that can be followed.

Improvisation has an experimental character, as it involves structures that are dynamic and also unpredictable. Improvisation techniques have a framework, a context, but within that framework there is room for experimentation. As far as the use of new technologies in interdisciplinary projects goes, the various questions in that regard are relatively new and there isn’t an established manner or a specific methodology for them. Improvisation enables the possibility to understand the devices in an experimental phase, which will always be tinged with unpredictability. As was mentioned in the previous point, this leads us to generate particular ways of working, in which improvisation plays a fundamental role. In this sense, the interdisciplinary team is open to what appears within the context of exploration through improvisation, as the goal is also to understand and discover both the mechanisms in question and anything that may appear.

Improvisation and unpredictability, however, not only constitute a means through which we seek out and generate material for the artistic composition, but they can also constitute an artistic value in themselves, where a particular aesthetics is developed and, in certain cases, becomes a part of the performance. In his presentation entitled “From Reassembled, Slightly Askew to Ambiguous Devices: Critical Reflections on Long-term Interdisciplinary Collaborations”, Paul Stapleton highlights the importance of improvisation for his various interdisciplinary collaborative projects, also in terms of a methodological phase that is essential for creation. But for Stapleton, improvisation also plays a different role due to its component of instability. The speaker notes that control is not necessarily something that is involved in creative work and adds that “control is useful but it has limits, and maybe it shouldn’t be the first priority in every artistic collaboration.”

In this regard, Francisca Morand and Javier Jaimovich, in their presentation entitled “Interdisciplinary Methodologies within the Project Emovere: Dialogues among Design, Interaction, Sound and Dance”, refer to the indeterminate character of the interdisciplinary work associated with new technologies developed in the project Emovere. This indeterminacy, characterized by a certain uncontrollable aspect, permeated the different processes and methodologies both in the exploration and the creation and composition phases, turning into a methodological issue that at the same time involved decisions in the field of direction. In this sense, Morand alludes to an “aesthetics of the indeterminate” in order to denote this exploitation of the unpredictable nature.

For many speakers, instability and improvisation therefore play a fundamental role not only in the search for creative material or because they constitute a key methodological phase, but also in the development of the composition and the particular aesthetics that the different projects aim to develop. This way, the multiple possibilities enabled by interdisciplinary work are expanded, many of which are often unknown.




4. Language as Methodology.



One of the recurring topics throughout the Colloquium was the importance and role of language for the development of the disciplinary work methodologies. It is possible to identify at least two important aspects in this regard. The first is a conceptual elucidation, and the second is the creation of a new conceptual field. Regarding the first, as different disciplines become involved in an artistic creation project, it becomes necessary to unify the concepts, which may have different meanings depending on the place in which they are inserted. For example, in his presentation entitled “Research at the Nexus of Science, Engineering, Art, and Design: Forging a Pathway from Imagination to Innovation”, Benjamin Knapp tells us that the English word “model” had completely different meanings when applied to architecture, engineering or other disciplines. Thus, for the development of his projects, he contemplates a stage of conceptual clarification, redefinition and unification in order for the different members, who come from different disciplines, to be able to generate a common semantic field of understanding. As for the second, it is rather a matter of developing new concepts, which in some cases even involves new words, in order to generate a common language that also entails rethinking a reconfiguration of the phenomena in question. It is about being able to name phenomena that have some resonance in the various disciplines, for which a previous conceptualization didn’t exist. In this sense, in some cases, new conceptualizations are generated or a particular way of translation into the world of language is sought. For example, in their presentation entitled “Interdisciplinary Methodologies within the Project Emovere: Dialogues among Design, Interaction, Sound and Dance”, Francisca Morand and Javier Jaimovich note the importance of using metaphors in order to translate the interdisciplinary language and place it on common ground. To this effect, both processes have to be identified, the translation exercises and the language creation ones. The speakers identify the emergence of a specific vocabulary that not only enabled communication within the team but also contributed to the creation of the reality that the project aimed to generate.

Based on the foregoing, in the discussion panel with the speakers on the first day of the Colloquium, it was argued that the problem of language is not only a product of the need for understanding between the different members of a project but it also reveals a particular way of understanding and creating the possible relationships between art and new technologies, as well as the new phenomena that are generated from that relationship.

Thus, many speakers highlight the importance of searching for a common language and incorporate in their work methodologies a methodological phase aimed at creating a shared language. This is the case of Brennon Bortz, who designed with his team a “flexible system” based on the design of a common language, and Paul Stapleton, who incorporates a methodological phase in order to generate a shared language, among others.




5. Towards a Specific Corporality.



Many of the speakers referred to a specific corporality that originates from interdisciplinary exploration and creation associated with new technologies. Whether through the creation of new instruments, new forms of interaction or new relational and perceptual forms, interdisciplinary work has been generating new ways of understanding, interacting, addressing, experimenting and composing with the body in connection with new technologies.

In his presentation entitled “Hearing and Dance: Interaction, Perception and Action”, José Miguel Candela explained how one of his projects based on the interaction between choreography and music worked, where he identifies a new corporality. Using a Kinect camera that allows mapping the movement of the body in 3D, data from the capture of movement are obtained in order to measure certain factors in the movement, which are then translated, identifying their characteristics with musical elements such as speed, density, etc. The speaker argues that an additional corporality is generated, which also means new creative potential. He identifies this corporality at least in connection with two dimensions: a social dimension, as it involves a particular way of interacting with others, and a psychological dimension, as it implies a specific mental construction regarding a different order of the elements in play.

The idea of a specific corporality in this context is also addressed by Francisca Morand. In her presentation with Javier Jaimovich entitled “Interdisciplinary Methodologies within the Project Emovere: Dialogues among Design, Interaction, Sound and Dance”, she points out that a particular corporality was generated in the project where not only body and technology are linked, but the body of the stage performer is precisely where the various creation methodologies from the different disciplines come together. This generates a specific quality of movement, which also entailed the development of a body language that combines the techniques and methodologies of dance with interaction and an emotional methodology (Alba Emoting).

In this regard, speaker Sofia Muñoz, in her presentation “Among Interdisciplines: Between Dance and New Technologies” about the project Emovere by Morand and Jaimovich, explains that when the performers wore the devices for capturing the physiological signals that generated the sound, they had to learn to recognize their bodies from a different perspective in order to generate the sound. Muñoz quotes one of the dancers of the project, Poly Rodríguez, who claims that “it is like learning how to play an instrument with your entire body”. This provides a particular quality of movement and corporality.

In their presentation entitled “Choreography and Composition of Internal Time: Biosensors as an Intervention in Creative Practice”, speakers Teoma Naccarato and John MacCallum also refer to a specific corporality in choreographic and sound work associated with new technologies. In this regard, they note that it is essential to consider the body not only as something that is under permanent construction but also as something that is constantly constructing. In this sense, Milena Gilabert, in her presentation entitled “Kinesthetic Representation System”, invites us to think about “how the sound moves me and how the sensation moves me” in interdisciplinary work from the perspective of dance. Following these questions, Gilabert describes her project Woditat, based on the design of a tactile interaction system, where the audience is invited to participate in the production of sound through touch and they are the ones who modify their corporality through interaction.

In this regard, in her presentation entitled “Computerized Choreography and Intermedial Complexity: Dance and the New Media”, Katja Schneider emphasizes the importance of referring to the particular creation of movement, or rather the invention of movement in dance through technology. The speaker gave the example of the renowned choreographer Merce Cunningham, who in his interest to achieve dance autonomy, generated computer models based on the capture of the movement of the dancers in order to create or invent the movement through computing. Thus, it is a matter of a specific place of bodily creation and dance that differs from the forms that were known before technology was incorporated into dance. As was mentioned in section one, computers offered Cunningham figures that are not anatomically possible but were then adapted for choreographic work.

In this sense, Paul Stapleton, in his presentation entitled “From Reassembled, Slightly Askew to Ambiguous Devices: Critical Reflections on Long-term Interdisciplinary Collaborations” referred to the type of body that is generated within the context of a “mixed reality” in connection with interaction devices, where a “process of negotiation between human and non-human bodies operating in mutated physical and social ecosystems” occurs. Stapleton tells us that this has also been called co-tuning.




6. Self-awareness and Expansion of the Bodily Perception.



The specific corporality described in the previous section is closely linked to a particular form of self-awareness and bodily perception described in a large portion of the presentations. Self-awareness and various perceptive processes enabled by a new way of perceiving one’s body and the body of others also generate new forms of corporality in diverse projects in close connection with new technologies.

One of the questions that originated the project EDIPA led by José Miguel Candela was whether the performer’s bodily attention, perception and action were expanded through the use of new technologies. The project was guided by the development of an interactive system where the stage performer generated a set of sounds through movement. The dancer’s perception, as explained by the speaker, is focused in an intense manner, giving rise to an increase in self-awareness and proprioception processes. With this, the dimension of self-awareness of the body, time and space (here and now), thought and affection is also focused. In this sense, Candela indicates that the project’s results showed that not only the perception and proprioception of the body is expanded, but also the creative potential.

For example, in one of the interviews conducted by Felipe Otondo with the performers and choreographer reported in his presentation entitled “Using a Body-Worn Sound System as a Tool for Interdisciplinary Research”, the dancer notes that “it gives you another possibility of movement”, as he always feels that the sound vest is on, that he is wearing speakers on his arms and also has a device on his back. The performer also mentions the awareness that he must have in order to be able to take care of the device, to avoid damaging it, so that experimentation can take place. On the other hand, the choreographer indicates that in a scenic space, the sound or the music generally comes from outside, and there is an external relationship with the sound or the music. But when working with the acoustic vest, he explains that “the sound is transmitted from oneself, regardless of whether it is not so much my sound, like my heart beat, my breathing, but an external sound. But it emerges from the body, so that forces you to really rethink the issue of how to move”. In this sense, the qualities of movement are transformed, as they stem from other physical and kinetic experiences and perceptions in connection with the body. On the other hand, the choreographer points out that there is an important aspect to consider in the fact that the person wearing the sound vest is capable of manipulating, directing or influencing the sound, which also implies a different relationship with the body.

It is important to emphasize the expansion of the perceptive experience which in turn modifies the quality of the movement. In this regard, in the discussion panel with the speakers on the second day of the Colloquium, the fundamental relationship between sound and movement was mentioned, whose traditional form is altered with the implementation of new technologies when, as we have seen in various presentations, the body is what “produces” the sound or specific visual elements. For example, Francisca Morand, in her presentation with Javier Jaimovich entitled “Interdisciplinary Methodologies within the Project Emovere: Dialogues among Design, Interaction, Sound and Dance” refers to a “very particular state of alertness” as her body makes sounds and she is able to perceive someone else who is also making sounds and is modulating the dance languages. In this sense, an expanded corporality is generated. This way, we are also dealing with multi-perceptual experiences, as they involve different senses while also targeting a rediscovery of our own body, of its own physiognomy.

In her presentation entitled “Among Interdisciplines: Between Dance and New Technologies”, also about the project “Emovere: Body, Sound and Movement”, Sofía Muñoz notes that the dancer also experiences a new form of proprioception, through a sound that is and is not part of the body and that, to some extent, also implies perceiving oneself through the sound, which involves an expansion of perception. Muñoz quotes Pablo Zamorano, one of the dancers of the project, who explains in an interview that it is “a feeling of spacing inserted in a specific time” when referring to an expansion of the bodily perception through multi-sensoriality.

Finally, it is important to mention one of the implications of the relationship with complex systems, as they also play a role in the perception and development of a specific corporality. In previous sections, regarding the configuration, composition and/or creation of new instruments and interfaces, it has been mentioned that on a certain level, they have a degree of autonomy or self-regulation and are capable of responding creatively or purposely to certain stimuli. In this sense, their executors are faced with a sort of other intelligence or even other body, which implies rethinking the ways of relating with the different systems. Self-awareness and the expansion of perception are also related to this link with elements that are complex, multisensorial and have their own complex intelligences, which affect the way in which the phenomena are perceived. In this sense, this aspect is also related to what was mentioned in the section about unpredictability and improvisation, as these complex systems are not entirely predictable and provide the various projects with a particular quality where not everything is under control.

Despite the aforementioned, a debate originates within the Colloquium as to whether new technologies play or not an essential and exclusive role in the levels of proprioception and bodily expansion, as well as in their ability to reveal invisible aspects of the body and the lived experience. For example, in his presentation entitled “Creation, Dramaturgy and Technology in Performing Arts in the Expanded Field”, Rolando Jara questions the idea of technology as an enabler of a particular type of experience, in the sense that it would provide us with the possibility to “see” things that we don’t see. The speaker questions the exclusivity of the role of technology in this process, also pointing out that a text, for example, could have the same strengths and capacities to reveal invisible aspects of our experience, thus expanding it. In this sense, the debate remains open to this day.




7. The Role of the Experiential Account.



The various experiences of the different members of an interdisciplinary project become a rich source of information when trying to answer internal questions about the projects or generate data that can complement the quantitative information. Although this wasn’t a central topic during the Colloquium, some speakers have sought to systematize these experiential accounts using various techniques from humanistic and scientific disciplines such as sociology, anthropology or even philosophy. This is the case of Claudio Fuentes, Federico Schumacher and Arturo Pérez, who in their presentation “Multimodal Methodologies for Analyzing the Musical Experience” use the technique of the “explicitation interview” developed by neurophenomenology. The speakers developed a quantitative study using instruments that measured the bodily reactions associated with the musical listening of the subjects involved. This information is complemented with the qualitative information of the interviews about the experiential accounts of the project’s participants.

In his presentation entitled “Using a Body-Worn Sound System as a Tool for Interdisciplinary Research”, Felipe Otondo presented fragments of interviews conducted with the dancers that took part in the project wearing the sound vest. These were videotaped interviews that retrieved the experiential aspect of the dancers. This way, the interviews allowed systematizing and objectifying the experiential information of the performers, constituting not only information available for subsequent analysis but also a contribution to the project itself. For example, in one of the interviews, one of the performers describes that “the sound, when coming out of the body, makes you rethink movement and the quality of movement”, which in turn enables a new way of addressing the project’s choreographic or dance aspect.

In her presentation entitled “Among Interdisciplines: Between Dance and New Technologies”, Sofía Muñoz conducts a study of the project “Emovere: Body, Sound and Movement” where the interview plays an essential role, as it allows accessing the experiential accounts of the members. In this sense, she describes, for example, the sensations and bodily perceptions of the stage performers in connection with the use of technological devices in dance.

On the other hand, in his presentation entitled “From Reassembled, Slightly Askew to Ambiguous Devices: Critical Reflections on Long-term Interdisciplinary Collaborations”, Paul Stapleton develops a biographical project called “Reassembled, Slightly Askew” about the writer Shannon Sickels and her cerebrovascular accident, which was executed by a multidisciplinary team for five years. The project was an autobiographical play using surround audio based on Shannon’s experience, who also took part in the project. The play used binaural microphones and special sound design technologies so that the participants could feel that they were inside Shannon’s head. The audiences experienced this play individually, listening to the audio with headphones while on a hospital bed. This way, they virtually experienced Shannon’s descent into a coma, her brain surgeries, the early days in the hospital and her re-integration into the world. The speaker tells us that this new way of telling a story had never been done about this topic before and that it seeks to place the listener in a first person perspective in order to develop empathy and understanding of Shannon’s experience.

Therefore, the experiential account can play various roles within the different projects, either as a record to be subsequently analyzed, as a form of research for the development of the projects or in order to carry out a project based on a specific experience. In the latter case, for example, multidisciplinary work in connection with new technologies plays a central role, as it allows disseminating the sensitive personal experience of a particular person, placing the listener inside Shannon’s ears.




8. Final Words



Interdisciplinary work linked to new technologies implies a challenge for interdisciplinary creation, which in turn involves different ways of rethinking the work methodologies of each discipline. Creative methodologies merge and transform. On one hand, the creation methodologies proper of each discipline still play a fundamental role in interdisciplinary projects associated with new technologies. But on the other, they are transformed or challenged, giving rise to new questions and places of creation, whether more or less radical.

New technologies in interdisciplinary creative processes offer the possibility to rethink and rearticulate the constellations of notions and elements within the different disciplines in question. The creation methodologies acquire a hybrid character, expanding the languages in the context of an interdisciplinary horizon.

One of these challenges was represented by the various strategies exhibited during the Colloquium regarding the capture and transformation of physiological signals, which involves a wide range of alternatives and complexities. The capture of physiological signals, their “creative translation” into a different materiality (for example, sound), the association with the body, the relationship between science and art, the various places of creation and production, as well as the issues derived from them, provided a rich field for theoretical and methodological discussion during the Colloquium.

It is worth mentioning that although most of the projects and methodologies presented and described during the Colloquium were associated with the capture and transformation of physiological signals, at the nexus between art, body, new technologies and science, a part of them was also linked to the capture of affections and emotions. In this sense, the topic of emotions and affections, their capture as a correlate of physiological signals and the artistic development associated with music and sound was one of the Colloquium’s key topics. Like several speakers pointed out, this involves both the theoretical and practical study of emotions and affections, which gives rise to the development of numerous interdisciplinary work strategies and methodologies.

On the other hand, the unpredictable nature of the interdisciplinary creation associated with new technologies also had a primary role. In this sense, methodology is always something under construction, always subject to redefinition and rediscovery. Sometimes it is even necessary to strike a new path and reinvent it. This way, not only does it become a huge challenge, but it is also embraced as a way through which we can establish creation methodologies. It is there where improvisation also comes to play a fundamental role, becoming a key element from which we can test, try out and discover the various potential paths that can be followed. Improvisation has an experimental character, as it involves structures that are dynamic and also unpredictable. Improvisation enables the possibility to understand the devices in an experimental phase, which will always be tinged with unpredictability. Improvisation and unpredictability, however, not only constitute a means through which we seek out and generate material for the artistic composition, but they can also constitute an artistic value in themselves, where a particular aesthetics is developed and, in certain cases, becomes a part of the performance.

Another recurring topic throughout the Colloquium was the importance and role of language for the development of the disciplinary work methodologies. It is possible to identify at least two important aspects in this regard. The first is a conceptual elucidation, and the second is the creation of a new conceptual field. Regarding the first, as different disciplines become involved in an artistic creation project, it becomes necessary to unify the concepts, which may have different meanings depending on the place in which they are inserted. This way, many speakers emphasize the importance of finding a common language and incorporating a methodological phase aimed at creating a shared language into their work methodologies.

On the other hand, many of the speakers stressed the importance of considering a specific corporality that emerges from interdisciplinary exploration and creation associated with new technologies. In this sense, whether through the creation of new instruments, new forms of interaction or new relational and perceptual forms, interdisciplinary work has been generating new ways of understanding, interacting, addressing, experimenting and composing with the body in connection with new technologies. This specific corporality is closely linked to a particular form of self-awareness and bodily perception described in a large portion of the presentations. This particular form has been characterized by the expansion of the perceptual and self-perceptive experience, which in turn modifies the quality of the movement. Therefore, self-awareness and various perceptive processes enabled by a new way of perceiving one’s body and the body of others also generate new forms of corporality in diverse projects in close connection with new technologies, as well as new ways of thinking about and understanding the body.

Finally, it is important to note that the experiential account played various roles within the different projects, either as a record to be subsequently analyzed, as a form of research for the development of the projects or in order to carry out a project based on a specific experience. In addition, the experience of the participants of the projects becomes a key element for continuing the artistic and methodological development concerned with new ways of addressing the relationship between art, the body and new technologies.



1Alba Emoting is a method for emotional triggering based on body posture, facial expressions and breathing, developed by Susana Bloch.