From Media Design: Networked & Lens-Based wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

title: Choreo - Graphic Languages


“For Massumi, affect is precisely a matter of how intensities come together, move each other, and transform and translate under and beyond meaning, semantics and fixed systems/cognitions. Part of the assumption here is that, even in the most reactionary circumstances, nothing happens if affective intensity has not already paid us a visit. This refines our understanding of why territory - spatial and temporal - is always “existential territory“. It has as much a territory that enables movement as something that keeps everything in its place, it is movement itself.” Reading / Feeling - If I Can’t Dance Archives.

Kinesphere.jpg Captura de ecrã 2015-11-16, às 08.53.43.png

What do you mean by “to choreograph”?

For my master thesis and project I aim to investigate the compositional processes found in design and dance performance, and understand how movement is implied in the moment of production and post-production in both practices. I see the possibility to establish a connection and elaborate more on a multidisciplinary link between – and coexistence of – performativity and graphic design. My intention is to embrace a holistic (mind and body) approach in design practices, and encourage the use of choreographic thought and movement beyond performance practices and towards design.

The project I hearby propose is process oriented, and based on the creation of a series of moments of (critical) reflection concerning our embodiment when defining different time and space circumstances. I believe processes in design can learn from processes in performance, challenging the conventional design thinking. This cross-referencing system opens the possibility to unveil new aesthetic, energetic and social dimensions of design production processes.

By looking at diverse graphic design methods, in both digital and physical realm, as well as by analyzing a selection of choreographic approaches, I aim to research what performative qualities could be implemented and explored while designing? And what powers of invention or transformation does it set free?

Keywords: Transdisciplinarity, Performance, Graphic Design, Performativity, Embodiment, Physicality, Phenomenology, Spatial-Movement-Time Qualities, Function & Perception, Systems , Processual Creation

What moves you, Joana? Thesis intention

"As there is no absolute frame of reference, absolute motion cannot be determined. Thus, everything in the universe can be considered to be moving." at wikipedia.

Movement (of the body) is one of the central concepts in my research, as being something that defines how human beings relate and perceive the world, how they access information, and process it. If communication stands for the transmission of knowledge, indicated as “the transition from one point to the next”, that is as one “directional destination” to the next, then the concept of movement is intrinsically connected. The question is which role do graphic designers play in this constant movement? How oneself is made conscious of the different aspects we are surrounded by.

1. Personal and experimental (design and dance performance)

In my design practice I hope to be find new method that communicates between design and dance, a system that allows for cross-breeding. An inter-disciplinary approach, exchange of knowledge.

"Constantly re‑inventing, bringing ideas and actions together, contributing to the being‑together web of relations; to Deleuzian assamblage. Deleuze’s interest can be found in bodily capacity to make us think of the unthought. Moreover bodies have active power to affect and also passive power to be affected." Deleuze, G. (1989), Cinema 2: The Time‑Image, USA: University of Minnesota Press

2. Embodiment / Consciousness (phenomenology)

Performing, or simply moving the body, allows to articulate ideas in action, to set them in motion. There is a higher sense of oneself, and of one's responsibility. In dance, along with similar kinesthetic experiences, the human body reaches an intense sensorial perceptual experience, composed of information from many places in the body, finding the need to have an understanding of/control over of sensory consequences of their own movement. It can be seen either as personal, depending on the case- collective, confrontation - creating great awareness. Embodiment and the idea of being present leads to a high level of consciousness.

‘By using the term embodied we mean to highlight two points: first that cognition depends upon the kinds of experience that come from having a body with various sensorimotor capacities, and second, that these individual sensorimotor capacities are themselves embedded in a more encompassing biological, psychological and cultural context.’ Eleanor Rosch

3. Contemporary relevancy (speculative realism / accelerationism / anthropocene)

The concept of motion is also inherently connected to the development of communication technologies and by the introduction of cybernetic systems, embracing both human and non human entities into a a network of interactions. Arriving at last to the realm of contemporary philosophy, specifically the speculative realism movement, an object-oriented philosophy which arises from what Graham Harman determines to be a core fallacy in contemporary metaphysics, that the “root duality of the universe is not made up of subject and object [….], but of objects and relations." We live in times of extensive technological acceleration and revolutionary transformations in media platforms, a data-driven society that is continually sparking new forms of human interaction and social contexts. In different disciplines, motion has been the main character for developing theories around the most intrinsic questions of humanity. The same elements of time and movement matter more prominently in performance than in other traditional forms of art.

In this link I written a text in which the ideas above are expanded and linked to my on going research: Contextualization_-_for_proposal.

Practical steps

1. An Inventory. - How can we think performance through the lenses of both Design and Post-Modern Dance? I have been gathering examples of the methods and tools used for composition matters in both disciplines. This includes design conventional structures, choreographic scores, scripts, programming languages, and software. I also believe that focusing on free and open source software will allow me to better grasp the implications of these tools and processes.

Here is the link:

Both Design and Performance rely on decisions of how to organize and distribute elements in space, how these elements relate to each other and how they inherently set a specific rhythm and flow, which is then perceived in the moment which is accessed.

In Graphic Design I so far collected examples of grid-system and typographic systems, from around the 1950s, time in which cleanliness, readability and objectivity was highly emphasized up until the present moment in which this principals were translated to algorithmic structures.. This way I embrace both print and digital technologies and methodologies.

On the performance side, my research and material collection is now focusing on choreographic systems from post-modernist dancers, in which its philosophies mostly look at basic movements of the body, highlighting the essence of movement. In this there is indeed a strong move towards functionality and the body as communication tool for specific ideas. The choreographic scores developed by these different dance performers to communicate movement, use an extensive use of language such as - graphic / numeric / alphabetic complex systems.

2. Analysis and Experimentation. - When simultaneously looking at both disciplines, is it possible to to draw a parallel between its different methodologies? If so, what performative qualities from dance could influence design? And how?

I started to list and categorize my questions and variables to explore further (a gathering of topics and planning is being built - - - work in progress):

A practical study case : the workshop "Up pen Down" organized by Open Source Publishing- OSP in collaboration with the choreographer Adva Zakai, in Brussels. An experiment on "linking typography and performance", an interplay between forms of action and forms of typeface, and how both develop a dialogue between both.

(a more detailed introduction to workshop can be found here:

In brief, starting with investigating different ways of drawing typography, particularly at algorithms based on vector drawings, we then developed a series of experiments on how the same concept could then be applied when using body movements to draw typography in space.


Its all lines and curves, but because the coordenation of visual elements in the two-dimensional digital realm is different from the one in the third-dimensional physical space, the code systems to be used also had to be re-thought. The principle of defining points in space and a path following them, was apparently very similar in both circumstances. Although the fact that the units differed, now being body measurements, made these rules vary substantially.

This experiment was overall extremely successful and most people could communicate their "type design systems" to each others. It was a great opportunity to transverse the experimental terrain between space and form, that allowed to look at graphic technology in unconventional ways.

Breathing as code system - one of my interventions was based on the idea of having an internal unit (heart bits) that define our ability to perform. This way, for every breath I would take, a movement would follow. Here is a video demonstration:

After the workshop it was clear to me that it is not about finding a direct translation from design to performance, or digital to physical as a "mimetic" exercise. Instead, to understand and take advantage of the physical limitations and potentialities of one space, the other or even both.

To access a short summary of previous works and experiments under this same thematic, please access here: Previous_Practice_-_summary.

After some earlier experiments I believe that a key point of the overall project process lies on transdisciplinarity, a combined hybrid-process looking at both design and dance performance, to explore the "potentials of an 'open system (Emery, 1981), hence potentials for transcultural practice." 'Open systems' as 'systems that live within a constant exchange with their environment' (Cillari in Birrringer, 2007, p.121), thus relying on interaction and on patterning de-patterning and re-patterning of clear, yet permeable boundaries through which new information and ideas can be absorbed. (Recreating Histories: Transdisciplinarity and Transcultural Perspectives on Performance Making, Thomas Kampe).

In the theoretical spectrum, I am interested in continuing studying the culture and historicity of dance rituals, how that influenced or not the western post-modernist performative approach. The same for graphic design, I would be interested in extending this research to earlier typographic tools and graphic design craftsmanship.

"Writing systems vary, but a good page is not hard to learn to recognize, whether it comes from Táng Dinasty China, the Egyptian New Kingdom or Renaissance Italy. The principles that unite these distant schools f design are based on the structure and scale of the yuma body - the eye the hand and the forearm in particular - and on the invisible, but no less sensuous anatomy of the human mind. (...) Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form, and thus with an independent existence. Its heartwood is calligraphy - the dance, on a tiny stage, of the living speaking hand and its roots reach into a living sol, though is branches may be hung each year with new machines." The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst.

This way, I would better understanding the fundamental nature of both disciplines, how the binary opposition human (physicality) vs structures (abstraction) emerged. And for better understanding of the same matters in contemporary culture and technology I would like to research further on virtual space/ human space perception /cyborg theories / computational creativity and software studies / systems theory and cybernetics.

3. Final Outcome. - In the end, I would like to present the result, a sort of "new" design logic, maybe in a form of a manual/ a platform (Hybrid publishing / Print & Digital) which best shows the processes and experiences held throughout the research. Another option for display would be a hybrid scenery, in which the outcome would be a multimedia set up, displaying a collection of materials from the process and its results.

A performative utterance still remains as a possibility, maybe a showcase or a side event.

A list of references

ON PERFORMANCE // CHOREOGRAPHY (readings < ) (documentation / dance archive) (documentation / dance archive) (documentation / dance archive) (historical references/ dance archive) (historical references/ dance archive) (postchoreography ?) (choreographic objects) (visual art and performance)

On Scores, Notation and the Trace in Dance, by Myriam Van Imschoot

MOVING WITHOUT a BODY by Stamatia Portanova (book)

Isabel Maria de Cavadas Valverde in INTERFACES DANCE-TECHNOLOGY: a theoretical framework for performance in the digital domain (dance-technology thesis)

Hetty Blades on Creative Computing and the Re-Configuration of Dance Ontology (Performance Art: Life of the Archive and Topicality.) (performance responses to Anthropocene)


"is only a term that addresses what people are doing now (at that moment)":

The 1960s and '70s saw an analytic exploration of pure dance by the first generation of post-modern choreographers, such as Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, Trisha Brown, David Gordon, and Lucinda Childs. In the 1980s, a new choreographic impulse burst through this formal austerity. Dancers began to wrestle and juggle, dance to pop music and poetry, tell stories, play characters, wear elegant or outrageous costumes

Does dance makes a difference? Anna Halprin Workshop for Movement Research / NYC - impact.


Yvonne Rainer:

Trisha Brown:

Simone Forti:

Merce Cunningham: (Thinking with the body: Mind and Movement by Wayne McGregor / Random Dance)

William Forsythe: (choreographic objects)

Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Rosas danst Rosas - Le vocabulaire du deuxième mouvement:

Pinna Bausch:

Tino Sehgal at Tate Modern :

Sasha Waltz:


DESIGN (type/graphic)

Action to Surface by Tereza Rullerova.

Compression by Abstraction: A Conversation About Vectors:

ART MOVEMENTS (time-based media works < check )

Briony Fer in the book The infinite line (geometry and conceptual artists)


Sol Lewitt

Vito Acconci (

La Monte Young - Sobre El Minimalismo - Composicion 1960 #7

Henri Chopin; Guy de Cointet and Channa Horwtizt: Signs,Rules, Processes - Indetermination and deconstruction.

THEORISTS (on language/ media)

Method by Dick Raaijmakers

Deleuze and Guatari

Umberto Eco

Guy de Cointet

Lev Manovich, Database as a Symbolic Form.

Meta-communication, by Gregory Bateson to refer to "communication about communication" "Mind, Nature, and Consciousness: Gregory Bateson and the New Paradigm.

Blaeuer, D. M. (2010), An Ecology of Performance: Gregory Bateson’s Cybernetic Performance, USA: University of South Florida (In the book, Ecology of Mind, Gregory Bateson explained actions in terms of being performative within the complex system which they are part of. 13 I understand this system as human interactions, relations and reactions to patterns. Bateson’s patterns are acts of human perception and respond to the world which is in the process of constant change - a flow of life.)

‘History’ of Search Engines: Mapping Technologies of Memory, Learning, and Discovery ¬ Richard Graham

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone: The Primacy of Movement at

"Art and Language" exhibition at MacBa. (ask Steve help to access! <)

Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought is a 1995 book by Douglas Hofstadter (

Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, By Janet H. Murray (


Brian Massumi's reflection on Feeling, Emotion and Affect on his book Parables of the Virtual, Movement, Affect, Sensation.

Brian Massumi's Archive of experience.

Interview with Marlon Barrios Solano, part of the Embodied Techne Series (2012), Alva Noë discusses "Dance As A Way Of Knowing"

Merleau Ponty, phemenology of Perception

Eric Shouse, “Feeling, Emotion, Affect”, MC Journal, Vol. 8, No. 6 (December 2005),


Pattern: Ornament, Structure and Behavior, by Andrea Gleiniger and Georg Vrachliotis


It was also important for me to visit If I CAN'T DANCE archives, for introducing me to contemporary art initiatives dealing with the concepts of performance and performativity. Some recent and relevant field trips, may include the Tino Sehgal at Stedelijk Museum, Cool Britannia - Het Nationale Ballet | Dutch National Ballet, the performance/exhibition from Anne Theresa at Wiels, the video art exhibition "Dancing Light / Let it move you" at Huis Marseille and a "Art and Language" exhibition at MacBa. Besides assisting a few performances, a workshop with Simone Forti's team was very useful as to better support my recent projects and deepen my knowledge on my exisitng interest towards choreographic methods and its further pratical use under performance. On a weekly basis I attend ballet and modern/improvisation dance classes at Dansateliers in Rotterdam.


Attending the , in a conversation with Kristof Van Gestel and the performance COMME IL EST BLOND! (OU: DE TOUTES LES COULEURS), 1982, 2013 - GUY DE COINTET.

Keywords - Expanded

Objects (in) Space (in) Time.

- OBJECTS - as human and not human bodies.

- SPACE - physical & digital. virtual too?

- TIME - different rythms.


= something, such as a series of planned situations, likened to dance arrangements. (from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition)

= the representation of these movements by a series of symbols.

= the notation used to construct this record. (from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License)

= the art of composing dances for individuals or groups, including the planning of the movements and steps;

= the planning and coordination of activities for an event, especially one to be held in public. (from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.)


“performativity is derived, of course, from ‘perform’, the usual verb with the noun ‘action’: it indicates that the issuing of the utterance is the performance of an action – it is not normally thought of as just saying something.” — Austin, J. L. (1975), How to do things with Words, UK: Harvard University press, 2nd edition, p6-7 *2 Derrida, J. (1977), Signature

-Performance = language /communication.

-Performance = factor for social harmonization and cohesion.

-Performance = hybridization of the body and technologies in a both real and speculative approach.


- Design, structure, or configuration of a form, style, or method.


- A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result.

- A series of operations performed in the making or treatment of a product.


- The arrangement and interrelationship of parts in a construction.

- The way in which parts are arranged or put together to form a whole.


- A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole.

- A network of structures and channels, as for communication, travel, or distribution.

- An organized and coordinated method; a procedure.

- A naturally occurring group of objects or phenomena.

(selection from:

¿ future readings ?

Writers whose work is often characterised as post-structuralist include Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Judith Butler, Jacques Lacan, Jean Baudrillard, and Julia Kristeva.

TOP : : : : : : : :

/ / (Mathilde ter HeijnePerforming Change)

/ (Phenomenology of Dance - Maxine Sheets-Johnstone) / (Technology and Motion Representation)

/ / / ( Keeping Together in Time: Dance and Drill in Human History by William H. McNeill ) /

Joan Jonas. Scripts and descriptions 1968-1982 (Chantal Pontbriand (Ed.) Per/Form How to Do Things with[out] Words) (THE VISUAL EVENT : An Education In Appearance. OLIVER KLIMPEL (ed.). SPECTOR BOOKS.) (The Roots of Thinking - Maxine Sheets-Johnstone)

Embodied Wisdom: The Collected Papers of Moshe Feldenkraisby Elizabeth Beringer, Moshé Feldenkrais

a list: (a narrative of discovery that sets the mind loose from the rut of everyday perception. From a starting point in movement, improvisation is extended to include groups working together and the physical setting of performance - space, light , sound, objects...) (medical approach) (dance as a social and artistic (bodily) practice as a means of generating insights into the politics of identity and difference as they are situated...)