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.
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