Studying technology design in dance production 

Studying technology design in dance production 

In collaboration with John Sullivan and the company Le Principe d’Incertitude (Pierre Goddard and Liz Santoro)

 Designing technology for dance presents a unique challenge to conventional design research and methods. It is subject to diverse and idiosyncratic approaches to the artistic practice that it is situated. John Sullivan investigated this by joining the LPDI dance company to develop interactive technologies for their performance “the game of life”. From our firsthand account, we show the design space to be messy and non-linear, demanding flexibility and negotiation between multiple stakeholders and constraints. Through interviews with performers and choreographers, we identified nine themes for incorporating technology into dance, revealing tensions and anxiety, but also evolution and improvised processes to weave complex layers into a finished work. We found design for dance productions to be resistant to formal interpretation, requiring designers to embrace the intertwining stages, steps, and methods of the artistic processes that generate them. We suggest that our findings can be of value in other HCI contexts requiring flexible design approaches. 

This project was supported by the ANR JCJC Living Archive 

Publication :

John Sullivan and Sarah Fdili Alaoui “Embracing the messy and situated design of technology for dance”, In Proceedings of ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS), Pittsburg 2023.