Susanne Thomas - Northern School of Contemporary Dance

Susanne Thomas, Lecturer in Creative & Contextual Studies, NSCD

Dance in the public realm: exploring the potential of interactive touch foil, projection and motion triggers in the context of live performance

External partners: Sophie Jump, Designer and Associate Director, Seven Sisters Group and Andrii Morozevych, App Developer and Digital Technologist

This research builds on a previous choreographic work, BOXED: a solo for one female performer which showed a woman in a life-size box in the shopping window of a busy city centre. The project investigates three main pieces of new interactive technology in relation to a new instalment of a live performance in a public space:

  • Interactive (touch) project foil for windows
  • Video projection foil for windows
  • Blackout strip foil for windows

The research explores various modes of operation, for example trigger switches for the performer, interactive touch from the audience, video projection linked to triggers, motion triggers or a combination of all or various of these. It intends to address the following questions:

How far can the technology aspects contribute to questions of presentation and representation of a female dancer ‘on display’, be it for example through sudden blackouts, peepholes, or changeable visibility? How far can the spectator become aware of their own implication in the ‘looking on’ process, for example through an active interplay between dancer and viewer, aided by technology (touch, video, motion tracking, etc.)? How far can the technology contribute to an empowerment of the female performer, for example by actively deciding when she is seen, or which aspects are visible (trigger switches, blackouts, etc.)?