Choreographies of attention and control: biosensors, networks and embodiment in installation and performance


Session Title:

  • Performance (Panels & Roundtables)

Presentation Title:

  • Choreographies of attention and control: biosensors, networks and embodiment in installation and performance




  • The starting point for our roundtable discussion is an expanded concept of composition, choreography and scores to explore the implications of embodied and disembodied data as they blur the lines between composer and composed on many layers. The rapid proliferation of inexpensive networked biosensors and the ubiquity of sensor data from mobile phones, game controllers and similar devices, raise compositional questions / possibilities for re‑imagining concepts and practices of embodiment for artists working at the intersection of performance, installation, and networks.

    Using the idea of choreography and scores as a point of departure our roundtable, we hope to open an informal discussion between practitioners, scholars, and researchers, working in the rich intersections of emerging technological possibility and performance / embodiment practices, of how this intersection of sensor, network and body can expand ideas of embodiment and composition.

    All of the members of the Roundtable work directly with these technological and compositional issues in their work. The discussion is centered on a number of questions / provocations for discussion, posed to Roundtable members to consider or reject, both in the context of their own creative & technical practice, and through observations of others’ work.

    Our goal is to instigate an open discussion amongst Roundtable members and audience about the opportunities and difficulties presented by using sensors to generate compositional material.

    1. How does the current rapid expansion of sensor data inflect your work?
    2. What implications does the ability to transform, re‑record, and re‑present, across many media, the data extracted from an embodied practice such as dance, performance or music have on the compositional process? How do you model andrepresent your work as it spans software, algorithm, choreography, sound and visual?
    3. Are there ways you use sensor information as part of more complex compositional structures rather than a tool to read or trigger simpler “reactive” or “interactive” events?
    4. Compared to the history of fields such as motion capture for dance and animation, the growth of inexpensive sensors located in mobile devices opens up a terrain between what one might call “high data” and “low data”. How does extensive, low‑quality (compared to a motion‑capture system) single point data (such as from a mobile phone) compare with more sophisticated methods of data collection?
    5. Is the mobile phone sensor a special case in terms of embodiment?
    6. If motion, location and bio sensor data is being stored and transformed as part of a project – especially with large scale participation ‑ how does this inflect authorship? If underlying compositional patterns or structures are being derived from crowd movements or patterns, who is the ‘author’?