Palindrom: Interactive Computer Dance


Session Title:

  • Short Paper Presentations

Presentation Title:

  • Palindrom: Interactive Computer Dance



  • Palindrome is an inter-media performance group working exclusively with computer-controlled interactive human movement systems. Many artists today are using computers as creative tools. Others view the computer as a new medium and use it to instigate new kinds of images, projections, internet-art, etc. Perhaps, though, the computer’s greatest artistic potential lies neither in its use as a tool, nor as a new medium, but rather, for its unique ability to overlap and interconnect formerly independent forms of expression; indeed, for its ability to connect people together in new ways. Recent advances in software for music composition, sound generation, choreography, theatre lighting and graphic arts are making these disciplines ever-more “compatible”. Using an array of computers and cameras, as well as electrodes attached to the dancers’ bodies, our work brings music, sampled text, stage light and screen projections under the direct control of the dancers’ movements.

    The audience too is part of an interactive system. For example, by gesturing from their seats, or standing up, they control the music in part of the performance. (I have a 5 minute video demonstration). In their primitive manifestations, dance and music were considered to be one and the same art form. Even today there are African performance traditions which have only one word for both dance and music! Furthermore, the performers were not isolated from the audience, indeed a back-and-forth of impulses were essential to the event. Due n part to the cheap availability of recording, transmission and reproduction technology, interactivity has all but vanished from popular culture. Could the age of digitalization signal a return to interaction to the performing arts? Dance remains an area extremely slow to embrace the potentials of the computer. There are, I believe, some good reasons for this. (Theme of my paper “O body swayed to music (and vice versa)”, Digital Salon 1998, Leonardo Magazine.