The Perception is a Prism: body, presence, and technologies

La Perception est un Prisme: corps, présence, technologies

Enrico Pitozzi About the author

ABSTRACT

Starting from an interdisciplinary perspective of the concepts of body, perception, and technologies in the contemporary scene, this text will attempt to define the general aesthetic notion as bodyscape as an extension of the performer's perception. Through a survey of some key practices from the contemporary scene such as choreographic compositions by Myriam Gourfink, Isabelle Choinière, and the project of motion signature by Martine Époque and Denis Poulin, the impact of technologies on redefining the process of the performer's perception in the composition of the movement and the change of the notion of presence will be analysed. In this sense, a series of modifications that influence also the spectator's perception is presented. Therefore, the notion of empathy is discussed, and an attempt to find out how this applies in the context of a digital image of the body is made.

Keywords:
Body; Perception; Movement; Presence; Technologies

RÉSUMÉ

En partant d'une perspective interdisciplinaire autour du corps, de la perception et de l'intervention des technologies sur la scène contemporaine, ce texte définit la notion de bodyscape comme forme d'extension de la perception du performeur. En analysant des processus de composition chorégraphiques contemporains - Myriam Gourfink, Isabelle Chonière, et le projet signature motrice conçu et dirigé par Martine Époque et Denis Paulin - nous discuterons l'intervention des technologies sur la redéfinition de la perception des performeurs, pendant la composition du mouvement en redefinissant la notion de présence. Le cadre de cette réflexion mène aussi à interroger les modifications de la perception concernant le spectateur en nous permettant d'introduire la notion d'empathie pour comprendre si cela s'applique face à l'image numérique du corps.

Mots-clés:
Corps; Perception; Mouvement; Présence; Technologies

RESUMO

Ao partir de uma perspectiva interdisciplinar acerca dos conceitos de corpo, percepção e tecnologias na cena contemporânea, este texto tentará definir a noção estética geral de bodyscape como uma extensão da percepção do performer. Por meio de um exame de algumas práticas chave da cena contemporânea, como as composições coreográficas de Myriam Gourfink, Isabelle Choinière e o projeto de assinatura do movimento de Martine Époque e Denis Poulin, analisa-se o impacto das tecnologias sobre a redefinição do processo da percepção do performer na composição do movimento e a mudança da noção de presença. Nesse sentido, tem-se uma série das modificações que também influenciam a percepção do espectador. Portanto, discute-se a noção de empatia e tenta-se descobrir como ela se aplica ao contexto de uma imagem digital do corpo.

Palavras-chave:
Corpo; Percepção; Movimento; Presença; Tecnologias

Full text available only in PDF format.

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  • 1
    This is an Italian original and unpublished text, the English translation by Andrea Pitozzi.
  • 2
    In an interdisciplinary perspective we can identify some key aspects of the relationship between performance studies and neuroscience, and summarize them as follows: a) to investigate the body: true principle of knowledge; b) to highlight the way perception works and, consequently, its role in defining the gesture from a physiological standpoint; c) to introduce the movement from physiology to choreography; d) to redefine strategies that consider perception differently; e) neurophysiology, along with cosmology, mathematics or even computer engineering adopted to analyse movement, allows both for the choreographer and the performer to explore new fields of research, and to imagine innovative strategies for their work (what we will call choreo-intuitive movement); f) as for the audience, this interdisciplinary approach represents a starting point to analyse the way reception works.
  • 3
    We already know that to be attentive means to adopt a mechanism where the action is anticipated, a mechanism starting from our actions and intentions, and able to shape the world.
  • 4
    Posture indicates a potential action, it prepares for action: it is a geometry of consequences. If perception can change posture, so posture modifies perception in a feedback circuit.
  • 5
    Regarding motion capture devices, we can summarise their main purposes as follows: a) capturing the movement into a room with twenty-five infrared cameras; b) captors positioning on dancer's body; c) movements recording by means of a computer; d) conversion of obtained data to an avatar composed on the basis of the human anatomy; e) composition of a graphic trace based on the conversion of data into a dance score. Tension between the two dimensions is very clear: the more the movement is complex and articulated on the physical side, the more accurate will be the set of data to compose the performer's digital movement. To have further information about these elements see physiological experiments by Johansson (1973; 1975).
  • 6
    This aspect is similar to the mental training that means to imagine the performed gesture. This prepares the brain to the actual execution of elementary actions. A research group has proved that muscles involved in this imaginative act develop through this training, which is a sort of physical training through the mind. Simulation, thus, already holds rules and instructions that anticipate the cinematic of the action itself (Jeannerod, 2009, p. 108; 2009, p. 113).
  • 7
    This process work has found a development with the residence, in November 2013, with the Flesh Waves, phase #4 at the project Collective Body - Corps Collectif at the festival of electronic arts CYNETART of Dresden; see <http://creationcollectivebo.wix.com/corpscollectif>. Accessed on: 03 aug. 2013.
  • 8
    To consult the archive, go to: <http://www.lartech.uqam.ca/collection.htm>. The project has been financed by the Fond Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC, 2006-2010).
  • 9
    Marc Boivin, Sophie Corriveau, Sylvain Émard, Ginette Laurin, Louise Lecavalier, Manon Levac, Robert Meilleur, Ivana Milicevic, José Navas, Sylvie Pinard, Daniel Soulières, Philippe Vita, and Chanti Wadge.
  • 10
    Similarly to what happens for science, one can have a perceptive feedback through technology: it is possible to reorient the brain in real time, and the Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be successfully used in biofeedback practices. Thanks to an acoustic and visual feedback, the dancer is able to control the sensorial response, and consequently, to modulate the gesture (Bihan, 2012, p. 89). Such a statement shows that consciousness is slower than movement. Its specific aim - according to Jennerod - is that of ensure the identification of a self as the actual executer of the action. "The self minimal is a silent background for the control of a coherent development of events planned and determined on another level" (Jeannerod, 2009, p. 224). So, the operative role of consciousness is different: it is that to ensure the relation between an uncertain beginning of the action and its visible outcome. By this relation, the actors (the performers) can recognize themselves as actual executors of the action.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Aug 2014

History

  • Received
    01 Nov 2013
  • Accepted
    03 Feb 2014
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