Perform – Digital Movement in the Making

Lise Amy Hansen, Wendy Keay-bright


Commercial sensor-based technologies offer efficient mechanisms for capturing detailed movement data today. These pre-determined calibrations and representations are used to design solutions that indicate how people should move in order to achieve certain goals. This presents an ethical power imposition that resides in the computational prowess within processing to activate prompts and smooth out errors by ignoring or discarding movement outside of what is deemed useful. Our discussions on movement come out of two research projects Somantics and Sync in which we developed digital tools to observe changes in user agency when movement becomes the focus of a chain of responsive actions and reactions - affect and effect - made possible through digitization. The projects were undertaken with people with atypical movement experience, from expert dancers to children on the autistic spectrum. We discuss the need for reframing an ethical and critical discourse on digital movement to understand the sensate and social means with which we all use our bodies to regulate and rehearse, communicate and connect.

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