Ray LC

August 19 to 22.

Generative Dance in the Wild.

How do movements couple to sounds in the natural environment, and can paired dance communication by improvised both in the movements and musical composition realms? I plan to use SonicPi to generatively sample sound recorded from nature to make musical beats and rhythms. These beats will couple to pair dance metaphors in paradigms in salsa and zouk, which are popular dances in Panama. Specifically the project consists of the following phases.

  1. Record sounds in the natural environment of Panama and use them to construct simple phrases in SonicPi, choosing the right envelopes to synthesize beat sounds which, when live-looped together, produces Latin-like rhythms.
  2. Begin recruiting conference attendees for a performance which involves dancing in sync to the collected beats. I will train those who are not familiar with simple steps of salsa and bachata latin dancing so that all can practice together even without formal training.
  3. We will construct a wearable interface for switching between different SoniPi sketches for generating different sounds. We will prototype a teensy-based device that can use accelerometer data to switch between beats. The choice will depend on the leader in the dance pair.
  4. We will user test a pair of dancers, one of whom (leader) can switch between rhythms and music that inspires different dance forms and speeds. The leader can choose both her steps and the musical rhythms being generated. For example, she can choose to dance bachata rather than salsa, or to have a dip in the salsa, and can choose the musical motifs appropriate to these specific actions.
  5. If time permits, we will organize a Casino Rueda performance using pairs of dancers who can all control the music in different ways. If the technology does not permit it, we can prototype the process using calls much like in Casino Rueda, giving our DJ a cue to change the music.

The project investigates whether improvisation in dance can be coupled also to improvisation in music. Can we create a system for both changing the musicality and the movements in dance? We aim to investigate this in a natural context where Latin rhythms and natural sounds can be used as samples to create a performance of higher order improvisation.

Ray LC is an interdisciplinary artist and designer who incorporates cutting edge neuroscience research as a foundation for building experiences that create empathic bonds between humans and between humans and machines. He previously published papers on PTSD and creativity at UCLA and Japan’s RIKEN institute, and is currently a researcher at Parsons School of Design and Cornell Medical College. He’s currently designing an exhibit on computational vision as Designer in Residence at NYSCI: New York Hall of Science. Ray LC constructs physical installations, interactive experiences, and narrative works from the multidisciplinary perspectives of creative technology, art, and science. He works in interdisciplinary teams of collaborative experts like psychologists, software engineers, fashion designers, physical therapists, and creative coders. http://www.raylc.org/

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