Sonification of Isadora Duncan’s qualities

Sonification of Isadora Duncan’s qualities

In collaboration with Tove Grimstad Bang and Elisabeth Schwartz

This research is a long-term collaboration between dancers and designers, centred around the transmission of the century-old repertoire of modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan. We engaged in a co-design process with a Duncanian dancer, Elisabeth Schwartz, consisting of conversations and participation in her transmission of Duncan’s choreographies and technique. We then articulated experiential qualities central to Duncan’s repertoire and used them to guide the design of the probes, the sounding scarfs. Our probes sonify dancers’ movements using temporal sensors embedded in the fabric of the scarfs, with the goal of evoking Duncan’s work and legacy. We shared the probes with our Duncan dance community and found that they deepen the dancers’ engagement with the repertoire. Finally, we discuss how co-designing with slowness and humility were key to the dialogue created between the practitioners, allowing for seamless integration of design research and dance practice. 

This project was supported by the ANR JCJC Living Archive and the Centre National de la Danse in Pantin and Lyon.

Publication :

Tove Grimstad Bang and Sarah Fdili Alaoui “Designing in Conversation With Dance Practice”, In Proceedings of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), Hambourg 2023.