A NEW KIND OF WEATHER is a choreography interacting with technology to expand the interiority of the dancing body. We authored a tool to hack, modify, and animate the scales of interoception, proprioception, and exteroception so an audience might sense the entangled connection between self and the world. The collaborating team of artists includes dancer / choreographer, Laurel Jenkins, artist / director and researcher Jesse Fleming, and musician / composer, Lewis Pesacov. Together we built a system that allowed us to convert live motion capture data and turn it into midi sound. The motion data and audio were then transposed into a vivid character and world designed at the Perceptual Technologies Lab at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Through this work, we aim to reframe the relationship between the body, technology, and nature as one that is sensorily plastic; trainable to micro and macro scales of embodiment. Using a virtual scalable grid in space we mapped Laurel’s limbs to midi channels, and used the location of her limbs in space to determine what midi notes to send through that channel. Movement and sound collide and interact in this space of generation.
As we developed this system, we were curious how technology can reverberate a dancer’s actions back to the audience in a novel way -- how something live, lived, emergent could be encoded into the final work. We asked ourselves how the tension between dance and technology richly reverberates through a dancer’s actions back to themself and out into the audience simultaneously? More broadly, could we imbue both parties’ experience with a real time struggle and generate a sense of “weather” -- of change, impermanence, entanglement? At a high level, New Kind of Weather’s kinetic, sonic, and visual components aim to fill those experiencing the work with an awe and uncanniness that subversively speaks to our collective moment of adaptation -- as both a discovery of revolt and a capacity for relational harmony.