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.