Abstract & thesis

Dance performance in cyberspace – transfer and transformation

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The aim of this research undertaking is to understand the potential development of dance performance in the context of cyberculture, by examining the way practitioners use new media to create artworks that include audience participation, and by endeavouring in their theorization. With specific reference to cyberspace as a concept of electronic, networked and navigable space, the enquiry traces the connections such practices have with conventions of the medium of dance, which operate in its widely known condition as a live performing art. But acknowledgement that new media and new contexts of production and reception inform the characteristics of these artworks and their discursive articulation, in terms of the way people and digital technologies interact in contemporary culture, is a major principle to their analysis and evaluation.

This qualitative research is based on case-study design as a means of finding pragmatic evidence in particulars, to illustrate abstract concepts, technological processes and aesthetic values that are underway in a new area of knowledge. The field where this research operates within is located by a mapping of published literature that informs a theoretical interdisciplinary framework, which contextualizes the interpretation of artworks. The selected case studies have been subject to a process of systematic and detailed analysis, entailed with a model devised for the purpose of this enquiry.

From this undertaking it can be claimed that while an extensive array of technologies, media and interactive models is available in this field, the artists pursue a commitment to demonstrate their worth for specifically developing (new media) dance performance, and for dance performance to articulate technological and critical issues for cyberculture studies. The results of this enquiry also contribute to conceptual understanding of what dance can be, today, in the light of technological changes.


Paula Varanda, March 2015, Middlesex University