DANC 3559/ENGR 3501 Electronic Identity and Embodied Technology Atelier



From the beginning of time humans have discovered or created new ways of engaging with and manipulating the physical environments they inhabit. Our modern world is composed of a vast array of extension systems, and many of these extension systems take the form of electronic technological tools. As many of our basic needs are more easily met in the Western world, we have begun to expand upon the uses of technology beyond merely as a tool for increasing efficiency and innovation in scientific and economic spheres. In today’s consumerist world technology is so readily available that it has begun to serve more and more social and recreational roles.  From Facebook to Twitter to using GPS to playing Dance Dance Revolution on a Wii gaming system, the way we interact with our environment and other individuals has changed dramatically over the past decade.

But how do these technologies relate to our bodies and our personal identities? Have you ever paused to think about how these interactions affect your sense of self? How does physically interacting with these technologies influence the way you move? This course will provide students a unique opportunity to explore these questions as they work alongside two practicing artists and researchers to create original work. The aim of this student and faculty collaboration will be to utilize a combination of technology (an engineered system) and live dancing bodies to achieve a shared artistic goal.

The course will expose undergraduate students to concepts from art and engineering and demonstrate the interplay between these disciplines. Students will move, physically embodying concepts from somatic theory; they will calculate, measuring motion as joint angles over time; and they will collaborate, creating a system where those two ways of thinking about movement can coexist. There will be reading assignments designed to facilitate broader thinking, but the emphasis of the course pedagogy will be experiential learning in a studio context. The focus of the atelier will be winnowing the engineered options and the artistic vision simultaneously such that the end result is not merely to be viewed as a gimmick, but the product of a critical exploration of identity, meaning, and experience in this digital age.

Students with an interest in the course are sought from any discipline, and there are no prerequisites for the course.  A short explanation of the student’s interest in the course must be submitted via SIS in order to enroll in the permission-only course.

This course is funded by a generous grant from The Jefferson Trust.