Levinsky, Sarah (2023) ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN DANCE AND DIGITAL MEANING DISCOVERING POTENTIAL IN THE QUESTION OF MOVEMENT. Doctoral thesis, Falmouth University / University of the Arts London.

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Abstract / Summary

This thesis explores how a series of artistic and philosophical enquiries opened up through dancing with
Tools that Propel (TTP), the choreographic improvisation system that was developed (partly) in
response to the question ‘how might we create real-time interaction between dance and technology
that catalyses growth of new embodied knowledge?’ The difficulty of delineating movements –
determining where one movement begins and one ends – underpins the functionality of the TTP; its
multiple affordances born of, or affected by, different (digital and human) perceptions of movement
are products of recursive causality and make the system (which includes the dancer) self-maintaining
(Simondon 2012). This thesis examines these affordances and how problematizing the question ‘what
is a movement?’ foregrounds a series of interrelated investigations into how and in what form new
embodied knowledge arises with TTP.
Incorporating text, video, recorded interview and dialogue this thesis is a record of relational
encounters of practices: talking (about technical mentality, agency, choreography, improvisation,
dramaturgy, archives, time, ontologies and not knowing); co-developing TTP; moving bodies (material,
representational, virtual); reading; and writing. It interrogates TTP’s use by dancers in improvisation
and performance over two years and navigates an exploded framework of theory to understand the
emergent enquiries. Building on the practice of Merce Cunningham, William Forsythe, and Wayne
McGregor amongst others, and Mark Coniglio’s concept of ‘digital intervention’, this thesis contributes
to knowledge concerning how technological interventions in choreography produce new physical
thinking. Drawing on Karen Barad’s agential realism and Jane Bennett’s vital materiality, Andy Clark and
David Chalmers’ extended mind theory, and Brian Rotman’s discussions of the para-self and gesturalhaptic writing, this thesis raises questions concerning bio-eco-technological-becoming as it explores
how new choreographic language evolves relationally across human and digital perception and how
creative potential is found in a recursive and regenerative process of looking within newly perceived
movement. Overall, it suggests that an ecological aesthetics (Stern 2018; Yang 2015) approach to
dance/technology collaborations can lead not only to new choreographic thinking, attention, and
intention in dancers, but to shifted perceptual awareness and enactment of the dancing self in the world.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Performance > Dance
Courses by Department: Academy of Music & Theatre Arts > Theatre
Depositing User: Nicola Bond
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2024 11:13
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2024 11:13
URI: https://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/5367


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