Center for Advanced Visual Studies/MIT, 265 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor, Room N51-390, Cambridge, MA.
Susan Kozel works across dance and philosophy in the context of digital technologies. Working in England, Europe, Scandinavia, and Canada, she collaborates with digital artists, software engineers, architects, and composers to create performances and installations. She is the director of Mesh Performance Practices and is Principal Researcher with the SMARTlab Digital Media Institute at the University of East London (UK). Kozel has a PhD in Continental philosophy specializing in Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological writing and is the author of Closer: performance, technologies, philosophy (2007) published by The MIT Press. Her recent performance, The Yellow |Memory was the third in a series of performances exploring Technologies of Inner Spaces (previous performances in this series include ‘immanence’ 2005 and ‘other stories’ 2007).
Kozel is currently working on a new book called Social Choreographies: Corporeal Narratives with Mobile Media. She writes:
In Closer: Performance, Technologies, Phenomenology I reflected upon 10 years of artistic research across performance, philosophy and responsive digital systems like motion capture and wearable computing. In Closer I was passionate about the transformative potential of the alchemy between bodies and technologies, and argued that, with careful design, future generations of responsive systems and mobile devices could expand our social, physical, and emotional exchanges.
This Upgrade presentation will concentrate on a new research initiative that stems directly from the premises of Closer and will be the basis of my next book. Social Choreographies examines the use of mobile devices and social networking from the perspective of performance, in particular dance improvisation in public spaces. I will present results from current work with researchers from the Theatre Academy and the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland. Called “IntuiTweet,” dancers in different countries use Twitter to structure movement improvisation experiments that occur in and around daily lives. We also explore the possibility of “VideoTweets”.
Twitter is criticized frequently for being superficial and disembodied. If we combine the suggestion that bodies might be left out with the suggestion that tweets are necessarily shallow we have a niche for proving otherwise. Consistent with much creative work initiated by performers and artists in the area of emerging digital technologies, the researchers on this project ask whether we can we emphasize physicality and depth, movement and intuition, in a cultural phenomenon that is quick to be classified as non-corporeal.
Very little is required for good dance improvisers to initiate movement exploration. With Butoh the starting point might be the word ‘wheat.’ With Release Technique, improvisations may begin with a road map, a drawing of the human skeletal structure, or the suggestion of moving from one’s connective tissue rather than the bones. Spatiality, temporality and narrative are implicit (or one might say ‘tacit’) to the improvisations.
The act of writing tweets from an intuitive corporeal moment, sending them to a social network and then re-integrating them into our bodies only to begin the cycle anew is an example of contextual performative engagement within social computing. Innate to this cycle of transmission and reception is a play across temporality and spatiality. The rhythms of bodies permeate the messages, and they live across modalities and spatial dimensions.