Dance and Technology: A General Statement


Jean-Marc Matos


"We need a connection with technology. There is no better art than dance in which to bring this about. Jean-Marc Matos, you are doing an important work. One that needs to be done.
Best wishes." 29.05.86 John Cage

Science and Technology stress the marvelous capacities of man, and their appropriation supposes the risks due to their power and presence, but also the risk of displacing their utilitarian codes in order to explore the constraints and freedoms they represent.

Dance and choreography, as both body and multi sensory arts, are still not very present within the crossed fields of scientific research, technological development and social innovation, but they also deeply express our times and therefore should and could use our contemporary inventions in order to establish that connection.

I believe it is necessary to use them all, concrete and abstract, technical, scientific...and artistic.

New media offer not only a multiplicity of services but also a new way of conceiving and considering the possible. In my work, the "artificial" is at the service of creation. The dialogue art-science, dance-technique, body-machine is what I am dealing with in my choreographies.

Man has always been fascinated by his own image and has attempted to reproduce his double, to extend and perfect that image.

Somehow "naturally" my dance work has been associated, right from the beginning, with video images, computer based technology and relationships with machines.

In the same way, I am interested in the diversity of elements that are inherent to a choreographic performance; that which asks from the audience an elevated perception: either to choose where to put one’s concentration, or to look and perceive several things at once.

I am exploring this challenge in the field of ephemeral dance. The dilemma it poses is specific to all truly contemporary work: how to perceive and ascertain the complexity of the world.

The relationship between dance and technology raises certain important questions about new media (images, music, light, scenography, interactive systems, "on line" projects, ...), about their function for today and for the future.

What do they mean for the body, what do they bring to it? What do they take away?

A confusion settles in between the real and the virtual. Who manipulates who?

Is there another possible journey for the invention and notation of movement through the confrontation of these disciplines and techniques?

How do the various dialogues between the choreographed body and digital technologies on the live stage and the virtual space participate to the emergence of a new "live multi-media body language"?

The word multi-media here is understood as the writing of a score for both choreography and new scenic technologies using the interactive computer capacities (specially for images, sound, light and scenography).

Why and how can we articulate choreographic scenarios with the use of new media, images, machines and objects?

I would like these questions to be asked today, so that they can be shared with others, reformulated in various ways and put forward in relation to the world of dance, the world of science and computer technologies.

Dance can and must penetrate the world of science through these questions.

The human body, in its sensorial and creative apprehension, is today, more than ever before, fundamental and essential if we want to establish a viable connection with science in general and with technology in particular.

A common preoccupation around this fundamental question of today: what future for the human body in our unavoidable technological world?

"For the 21st. century, the skills we have developed as homeless survivors may turn out to be just the tools needed to create a niche at the heart of a future interdisciplinary, high-tech and body-centered project for researching, teaching and creating."

I am ready to invest energy to found with others such a project.

Jean-Marc Matos 98

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