Kinesthetic Empathy 2010 Conference: POSTERS

About my Poster 14:

Title: Rescuing Kinesthesia through Dance-Technology Interfaces: a theoretical framework towards posthuman corporealities
Following my theoretical framework on dance-technology interfaces and artistic practice based research in somatic based contemporary dance approach, I have been interested in work that emphasizes the kinesthetic experience, awareness, participation and empathy (particularly when experimenting with media technologies). Mostly as reflexive interfaces, the works have an inclusive and questioning attitude towards the very body-tech interfaces and the visual and audio dominance and consequent lack of focus on the embodied engagement. I would like to argue that, independent from media technology, the type of dance or choreographic approach and movement techniques influences the way kinesthesia is or is not addressed, expressed and sensed by performers and audience members.   
Curiously, I began noticing that the dance works that I enjoyed watching, experiencing or learning about within dance-tech were related to the same aesthetic dance approaches I enjoyed in pieces without media.  These pieces were, for instance, kondition pluriel's Schème II, Sarah Rubidge and  Alistair MacDonald's Sensuous Geographies, Lynn Pook's  Pause, Carol Brown & Escape Design's Sea, Unsee, and Tetsuro Fukuhara's Space Dance in the Tube.
Through semiotic and  phenomenological analysis of hybrid and interconstitutive modes of interfacing amongst the work participants, I argue that these works share a common emphasis on kineasthesia. Wanting to experience and communicate with the audience members through this sense, they develop ways of bringing attention and awareness to it by following and learning about embodying sensations in interactive movement situations. Either watching or actually participating, these works induce immersion by relying on and sometimes isolating the kinesthetic perception from sight, thus being a playful and constructive mode of knowing ourselves and understanding kinesthesia's crucial role to our sense of embodiment  particularly in this technological driven time of disconnection. 
Narrowing the approach to emphasize what I am most interested: kinesthetic awareness, engagement and communication, it was not surprising that these works are rare to find to watch on stage or experience in interactive environments or virtual networked performance formats. I believe this happens due to the imposing power of the image and sound upon movement in most works. And this situation reflects our conservative and Cartesian mentality model where movement is included though instrumentalized to serve the, supposed more intelligent, media environments, diminishing, when not substituting, the bodies, and keeping kinesthetic communication unconscious instead of adapting the interfaces and systems to our corporeal potential expanding what we can be. I will focus on the implications of these approaches' perceptive inclusivity and how they can contribute to raise agency for kinesthesia. As Hillel Schwartz stated in «Torque: the knew kineasthesia for the twentieth century» (Schwartz, 1992), a century later I believe we are getting closer to fulfill this goal for our posthuman society with the support from neurosciences findings on mirror neurons and dual adaptability along  with critical theory particularly on dance, performance and feminist studies.

Bainbridge, Bonnie Bainbridge, Sensing Feeling and Action, The Experiential Anatomy of Body-Mind Centering, Contact Editions, 1993,
Damasio, António The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000,
Grosz, Elisabeth, Volatile Bodies: towards a corporeal feminism, Indiana University Press, 1994, 
Hayles, Katherine, How We Became Posthumans: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, University Of Chicago Press, 1999, 
Hanna, Thomas, Bodies in Revolt: the evolution-revolution of 20th century man toward the Somatic Culture of the 21st century, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, NY, Chicago, San Francisco, 1970, 
Schwartz, Hillel, «Torque: the knew kineasthesia for the twentieth century», in Zone Books 6: Incorporations, the University of Michigan,1992,
Valverde, Isabel, Interfacing Dance and Technology: a theoretical framework for performance in the digital domain, Ph.D. thesis in partial fulfillment of degree. University of California, Riverside, 2004 (publication forthcoming),
Valverde, Isabel, Challenging Body Perceptions: dance towards and resisting new technologies, thesis presented towards the partial fulfillment of the MA degree in Creative Arts: Interdisciplinary Arts, SFSU, 1998

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