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Dance-Making on the Internet: continued..


The interactive dance-making process on the Internet would appear to be fundamentally concerned with everyone involved in the process working together towards the product. Interactivity that only involves communication between the human participant and the computer does not seem to have the same potential for the creative process. The completion of the creative cycle, including the sharing with others, in a totality perceivable by the participant is of greater importance. The ultimate responsibility for the artwork still lies very firmly at the artist’s door, as the artist must create a framework to facilitate the participants’ creativity. In order for participants to create, they must first have some understanding of what they are doing, otherwise their actions are based on chance alone. If they do not possess dance knowledge, then either the design of the task must provide the knowledge that they require, or it must draw upon perceptual knowledge that is likely to have been gleaned from elsewhere, for example from other arts, television or nature. Frequent, non-evaluative communication between participants, dancers and choreographer can help to provide information needed by participants.

The M@ggie’s Love Bytes model is interesting, but part of the nature of the Web is that it is global, and while some participants may be having their lunch-break, it may be midnight for others. Therefore, for purely practical purposes, the synchronous model is not ideal. Also, it does not allow the time for reflective participation: the participant may need time to consider and reflect before returning with new ideas or questions. Hinkle-Turner states “Interactive artwork by its very nature suspends the “space-time continuum” that is often the enemy of audience enlightenment.” She is referring particularly to interactive artworks on CD-ROM, but her comment applies equally to Internet-based works. An interactive process of dance-making that takes place over some weeks is likely to be richer in creative ideas than one that takes place over an evening, as the audience’s understanding of the process develops through communication with the artists and each other.

Communication is the key element of the interactive dance-making process, and where the communication is effective, the participant may feel involved in the creative process. The framework for the process should retain a flexibility to develop over time with the participants’ needs, facilitated by two-way communication. The computer bridges the distance between participant and artist, but where it becomes more intrusive than that, it may interfere with the experience of the participant. In Internet technology there exists a variety of possible conduits for creativity through multimedia communication between artist and participant. Popat’s Hands-On Dance Project extends the model described above, exploring options for combinations of asynchronous and synchronous participant involvement, and other methods of employing a variety of Internet communications technologies to facilitate the dance-making process.

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