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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Improvisers working with computer interfaces endure an overwhelming sense of nonempathetic indifference to questions of social identity that provide the warp and woof of physical imagination. This chapter offers commentary and analysis of these processes as they were realized by SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, a in residence at MIT from 2003 to 2011. Case studies include teaching tap dance to students in Singapore from a teleconference studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts; dancing improvised house music choreography while fitted with a wireless Miditron system; tap dancing on responsive floors that issued sound and video depending on the performer’s improvised step; and improvising with Wii controllers that repurposed photographic images onto specially constructed surfaces in real-time performance. In each of these encounters, the terms of physical comprehension expanded and contracted, suggesting an every-where-ness and not-really-here-ness that deserve exploration. Exploring methods of improvising towards empathy, the chapter suggests ways in which dancing bodies redistribute energy in relation to connectivities that are often not human and insistently nonempathetic.

Keywords: dance technology, empathy, social identity, improvisation and interface, theories of practice

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