Digital Choreography: Synchronous Objects
Twenty desks, one python, and what the human body has to do with lines of code.
By Maria Popova
Motion is a thing of beauty. Think about dance choreography — the human body in motion. Or the best stop-motion animation — pixels in motion. Naturally, the convergence of the two — choreography and digital motion — would be a magnificent thing.
Enter Synchronous Objects — a collaboration between German choreographer William Forsythe and Ohio State University Dance & Technology director Norah Zuniga Shaw.
The film plays off of the famed Forsythe piece One Flat Thing, Reproduced, using digital technology in a way that lets motion inform choreography. The project embodies the cross-pollination of ideas from different fields — dance, software, technology, sound design, motion graphics.
With this project, we seek to construct a new way of looking at dance, one that considers both discipline specific and cross-disciplinary ways of seeing.
Although this version of the film was done in Adobe Flash, upcoming work is experimenting with Field — a rich new open-source authoring environment built on Java and Jython (Python on the Java VM), designed for use in digital movement and visual expression. Field was conceived in — where else — the MIT Media Lab and has been used for anything from choreographic sequences to HD motion graphics installations.
Synchronous Objects and the technologies that inform it present a brave new frontier for motion arts, a future where human and algorithm come together to orchestrate beauty.
We highly recommend watching Synchronous Objects with headphones on — the sound effects alone are a piece of magic, adding a whole new layer to the already superb visual experience.
Published July 13, 2009