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Telematic Research

Telematic dance opens a new research paradigm for the production, dissemination and recording of computer-based techniques and cross-cultural exchange of dance and media creation. Identified as "distributed choreography" (Naugle, Digital Dancing1998) or "networked performance" (Birringer, Naugle, et al. Connected Dance: Distributed Performance Across Time Zones, 2001), my research in this area examines specific human-computer interfaces such as Internet 2, videoconferencing, Active Space labs and dance studios, virtual bodies and transmission of live bodies, in the context of structured improvisation/choreography and collaboration over a distance.

Internet 2 is a broadband system allowing us to deliver a full image and stereo sound in real time. It is live so there is no downloading time for files. Experiments at UC, Irvine have resulted in several synchronous performances: Janus Ghost Stories (with Arizona State University), between New York and California on November in 2001, Songs of Sorrow, Songs of Hope and Voyange of Aeneas: Fixed Knot in November 2002 and Reverse Patterns in the same year. Songs of Sorrow, Songs of Hope and Voyage of Aeneas performances included an orchestra of international musicians playing in New York and at UC, Irvine with channels of audio and video sent in both directions. We had video images of performers at both sites. Audiences at both sites could hear audio in stereo sound. One of the most exciting results of this research was that there was no drop out or loss of information or data. The performance was as reliable as having a recording or seeing a film, but we also had the spontaneity of live performance. Songs of Sorrow, Songs of Hope was the first Internet 2 concert that we are aware of involving all of the arts (music, dance, video, song) presented in traditional theatre, having full-house audiences at both locations.

I also use telematic techniques in my teaching as shown in the Videoconference for Pedagogy web album.

See Reverse Patterns Technical Diagram connecting University of California, Irvine and University of Southern California, Bing Theatre and Janus/Ghost Stories Technical Diagram connecting UCI and Arizona State University.

Distributed choreography and networked performance are synchronous approaches to communication; that is, shared activity between two or more people who are collaborating at the same time (performer-performer or performer-audience). Participants at different locations can see and hear each other simultaneously. This can be a two-way or multipoint method of communication. The basic technology system consists of computer, monitor, video camera, projection surface(s), microphone and speakers at each site.

Some of the fundamental attributes of distributed choreography are:

  • Two or more performers are joined through broadband network connection (current research with Internet 2)
  • Performer bodies merge in a virtual, fourth dimension, which is projected onto screens or other surfaces.
  • A combination of live choreography, visual imagery, sound, and real-time video interaction.

My recent research and creative activity with Internet 2 includes investigations into real-time interactivity; that is where dancer in one site influences the sound or video at a remote location. Reverse Patterns is one example of this.