A study of on-line collaborative choreography using LifeForms and Internet communication
Lisa Marie Naugle, New York University, United States
New York University . Awarded
This study examines the use of computer-based technology to facilitate innovative and effective approaches to creating dance, with a particular focus on collaboration and Internet-oriented techniques. The participants were choreographers from different geographical locations, and divided into groups. These groups met asynchronously over a four-week period to create choreography using LifeForms™. The study investigated the following questions: What aspects of choreography can be addressed most effectively through collaborative on-line learning? How does collaborative on-line learning affect the creative process of choreography? How do we examine collaborative form? What are some of the procedures and how do we determine what is a successful collaboration?
The strategies that the participants used to collaborate were identified and categorized. The data was organized into categories and subcategories indicative of trends in the teamwork. Patterns of interaction employed by the participants were indicators of the quality of their collaboration.
The collaboration of choreographer and dancer to develop and perform a work of dance traditionally takes place in a dance studio, theatre or other environment dedicated to this purpose and involves human bodies that are physically present. How is dance collaboration changed when the choreographic environment is cyberspace and the physical presence of the body is represented only in words and images? How can the creative process of choreography be a collaborative activity in cyberspace? How can remote partners recognize and respond to the dramatic intention of a distant partner?
These questions were answered through a qualitative analysis of email messages exchanged by the participants, supported by the visual representations of virtual figures created with LifeForms. The participants were from different geographical locations and participated in a four-week asynchronous, Internet-based project, titled the On-line Choreographic Project. Discourse analysis was used as the qualitative method to study the content of participant experience within the collaboration.
E-mail that contained animation files was the primary means of communication, yet nowhere in the transcripts was it revealed or hinted at that people perceived their role as being “button-pushing” or mechanistic. The concept of distributed choreography emerged as a unique theoretical framework: the basic premise being that as dancers and choreographers engage with digital information, they want to disseminate and recontextualize what is otherwise considered ephemeral art.
Naugle, L.M. A study of on-line collaborative choreography using LifeForms and Internet communication. Ph.D. thesis, New York University.
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