The Beautiful Glitch

In this particular research project, I have been interested in the image of the human body in contemporary dance performance.  Considering Oskar Schlemmer’s conception of the KunstFigur, as an idyllic figure freed from the bondage of biological and biomechanical limitations, in tension with the current discourse of the Post-Dance body, digital technology and dance become relevant explorative platforms with which to re-consider normative expectations.In this work, I seek alternative artistic propositions of the image of the human body, and its kinetic capacity, which can feed and highlight different readings of the human form otherwise unseen or hidden from the conventional eye. Uncovering a selection of alternative performative visualisations of the human body triggered by the accidental digital glitch which was discovered in collaboration with the Moving Digits Team and the dancers, I ask that you, as a critical spectator, and I, as dance maker, re-consider the digitally filtered, and de-subjectified (or simply altered) Body form, as beautiful glimpses into the less familiar. By learning how to purposefully “hack” the motion capture system, so as to force the glitch by manipulating the biological input (choreographic movement patterns) and non-biological affectations (lights, clothes, colors) as hacking methods, I encountered (im)possible variations of the possible, enabled through the digital filter. Hence the Digi-logic of the system. Seeing these glitches as a positive and creative input for performance and the generation of alternative movement patterns, I have been able to reconsider the strange, awkward and uncomfortable as something aesthetically enticing, theoretically interesting, and viscerally inviting. This performative experiment, is a Digimorphed hybrid, borne of a biological nature (human dancers), whereby all of the output images are translated, adulterated and glitched through the digital system of motion capture, and some technological effect-filters. I call this performance an experiential demonstration interlinking the bio-logical Body, and its Body-Logic input of the human dancer/persons, into a digital realm. By providing a variation of three perspectives: the Latent Steps video Installation, the interdisciplinary performance demonstration, and a digitally choreographed dance film, I essentially seek to enhance and ultimately celebrate the strange, and biologically impossible Body solutions that the collaborative dialogue between technology and human intervention has proposed. The Glitch is beautiful. 

Concept and choreography: Sylvia Rijmer

Dancers (Tallinn, Aug/19): Hanna Junti, Liis Vares

Dancers (Düsseldorf, Oct/19): Maria Pyatkova, Teresa Alves da Silva

Visuals, sound and interaction by, respectively: Stephan Jürgens, Raul Masu and Jochen Feitsch, with additional interaction by William Primett

Moving Digits: Augmented Dance for Engaged Audience. Project no. 597398-CREA-1-2018-1-PT-CULT-COOP1, co-funded by Creative Europe – Culture Sub-programme, 2018 – Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Union.