The Software

In summary, this work is a translation tool.

From Website --> HTML --> Dance Notation --> Movement, and poetically back again.

It aims to give back some of the movement we have lost through our use of technologies, by using these technologies as the starting point of movement creation.

Many people engaged with the software, at the beginning of the exhibition when it was less crowded I had a chance to talk with individuals. I found out their thoughts and gave some background to the work. This was especially rewarding as the people I spoke to all seem to have an idea of where this work could develop. For example one lady suggested that this could be an interesting data analytics tool, suggesting that I could be paid by corporate companies to turn their websites into performances. These could then be shown at their conferences. She was very passionate and said that I should patent the software. This was something I had never thought about while making the work, however imagining bringing contemporary and experimental dance making into a corporate setting would definitely be an interesting experiment, especially if I was able to pay my dancers. However, most people saw what I had imagined, teaching workshops in both HTML and dance notation, many people said that it was a less scary way of dancing or making movement and an introduction to HTML.

The usability of the software seemed to be self-explanatory enough, helped by the layout of the screen. Most people could tell what they need to do. However, I noticed that nearly everyone wanted to hit the enter key to load the dance notation. In this version of the software you could only click the load button. Having seen this we have since updated the software.

Jakub was great to have at the exhibition with me, as he was able to describe in more detail the technical aspects of the work to those who are interested. He was especially excited to see the software in action, as he had not seen the dance experiments or choreography so far. I have a feeling it was actually a bit emotional for him.

The Dance Work

At 7:30pm the dance performance was scheduled to begin. Myself and the three other compiler members gave a short ‘thank you’ speech and then I introduced the dance work. This pause allowed us to section the gallery, clearing the performance space and allowing the audience to gather at the back. When the dancers got into position many people sat down on the floor, which I had not expected but was pleasantly surprised. I played the music from the back of the space. 

The performers did extremely well following their queues and performing with sincerity. The combination of the eerie music and their abstract movements gave the work a slightly sinister but still strangely peaceful feel. With a round of applause at the end the feedback from many of the audience was that they would like to see more dance in galleries and at gallery events. Indeed, this did break up the evening and provided a good talking point. They also said it showed them how this type of work had multiple layers, as a choreographic tool, a research tool, a workshop opportunity and an artistic reaction to contemporary digital culture. In this way I achieved what I set out to do. 

However, this could not be eclipsed by the pride I always feel for my dancers. The fact that they had only rehearse together once, not knowing each other, and especially Alisa who had never danced before made me so grateful to them, for putting in the time and creative energy.

I asked for the performance to be filmed by our photographer, however in hindsight I should have figured out where he should stand before the performance started. Because of this, he stood at the front but found it hard as he was next to the pillar. For the beginning you may see more of the pillar than the dancers, however he later finds a better position. Nonetheless, this something to keep in mind for future events in this space.