Dance Meets Cutting Edge Digital Creativity at an LA Workshop

Motion Bank’s researchers teamed up with LA's creative scene for the fifth edition of the Choreographic Coding Lab.

by Benoit Palop
Sep 22 2015, 3:45pm

Photo by Calista Lyon

Last week, UCLA campus-located broad art center hosted the fifth edition of the Choreographic Coding Lab (CCL), a unique format for creative celebration, and the result of the first phase of research initiative Motion Bank. Seeking to provoke new and innovative creative approaches, the incubator spent five days solidifying one of its initial missions: to merging cutting-edge digital tools with contemporary choreography.

Presented and supported by CAP UCLA, Motion Bank, and the Design Media Arts program at UCLA, CCL5 brought together researchers, guest choreographers—Ros Warby, Ann Carlson, Laurel Tentindo—and the local creative community, including students, professors, coders, and designers, and provided them with matters to think on and create with during the hybrid workshop.

“For this CCL we only had one team that participated as such while all other participants arrived alone. This led to a lot of exchange and many new groups formed. It was not uncommon for participants to work on more than one project with varying formations,” Scott deLahunta and  Florian Jenett, co-directors of Motion Bank and the CCLs, tell the Creators Project. “We also had a lot more input by invited choreographers who would talk about their own work and allow the participants in to see it. This resonated well with this particular group of participants and great discussions and insights emerged,“ they explain.

Gestural Sculptures by Philip Scott

While succeeding in establishing a space for dialogue, exchange, and reflection, the open-format collaborative gathering opened up new perspectives and thoughts about choreography's position and specificities within digital media creativity. By using code and tech-tools to convert motion and performances into digital data and forms, participants delivered new creations, plug-ins, and prototypes that keep filling CCL's already stacked tool chest.

Motion Brushes (CCL5 at UCLA Broad Art Center) from andrew benson on Vimeo.

“Participants used various ways of tracking to do live interaction in their projects. This involved for example using the Kinect, an installation of OpenPTrack, or live video coming from a thermal camera,” deLahunta and Jenett explain, with emphasis on the diversity of mediums, tools, and materials employed. “The other part mainly worked with pre-recorded dance-related data that Motion Bank brings into the labs. These data sets range from 240 fps full body motion capture to a single traveling path of a performer.“

“Much of the material is augmented with annotations that will relate it back to choreographic structure or the comments of both performers and choreographers. It can be accessed through systems that Motion Bank set up: Piece Maker to allow for annotation on time-based materials, and Piecemeta to hold the actual data sets,” they add, concluding that many of the projects incorporated softwares like Processing and openFrameworks into their creative processes.

CCL5 concluded with a presentation day showcasing the series of impressive creations that emerged throughout the week. Check out a few pictures of the highlights below:

Synesthetic Score Machine by Kate Parsons and Julieta Gil

Red&Green by Theo Triantafyllidis

Crush by Eddie Lee

Crush by Eddie Lee

Data Motiongram Explorer by Martin Schneider, Aashish Gadani, and John Brumley

Shape of Dance by Kate Hollenbach

Photo Credit: Motion Bank

Click here to learn more about the initiative.


!!! CCL-5 UCLA group

- Motion Bank : Scott deLahunta, Florian Jenett,

- UCLA: Casey Reas, Kristy Edmunds & Ros Warby

- Guest Choreographers : Ros Warby, Ann Carlson, Laurel Tentindo

- Participants : Jasmine Albuquerque, Erika Barbosa, Andrew Benson, Jono Brandel, John Brumley, Jesse Fleming Julieta Gil, Madeline Hollander, Kate Hollenbach, Quin Kennedy, Eddie Lee, Kate Parsons, Marco Pinter, Martin Schneider, Philip Scott, Hannah Simmons & Aashish Gadani, Les Stuck, Selwa Sweidan, Wilm Thoben, Theoklitos Triantafyllidis, David Wicks, Tim Wood.


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