Creating emotionally aware performance environments : a phenomenological exploration of inferred and invisible data space
The practical research undertaken for this thesis - the building of interactive and non-interactive environments for performance - posits a radical recasting of the performing body in physical and digital space. The choreographic and thematic context of the performance work has forced us', as makers, to ask questions about the nature of digital interactivity which in turn feeds the work theoretically, technically and thematically. A computer views (and attempts to interpret) motion information through a video camera, and, by way of a scripting language, converts that information into MIDI' data. As the research has developed, our company has been able to design environments which respond sensitivelyto particular artistic / performance demands. I propose to show in this research that is it possible to design an interactive system that is part of a phenomenological performance space, a mechanical system with an ontological heart. This represents a significant shift in thinking from existing systems, is at the heart of the research developments and is what I consider to be one of the primary outcomes of this research, outcomes that are original and contribute to the body of knowledge in this area. The phenomenal system allows me to use technology in a poetic way, where the poetic aesthetic is dominant - it responds to the phenomenal dancer, rather than merely to the 'physico-chemical' (Merleau-Ponty 1964 pp. 10-I I) dancer. Other artists whose work attempts phenomenological approaches to working with technology and the human body are referenced throughout the writing.