Before I decided the future of contemporary dance lay in aberrant ethnochoreography, and ransacked Cantonese Opera for ideas, I spent alot of time in from of my laptop making dance in animation programmes. One of my favourite things, from Flash was the ‘for-if’ loop, and add an ‘else’ on the end for extra fun. Pretty much this is 300 year old Leibnizian calculus, and all it does is say if something is found to possess a particular attribute, then do the following thing for x number of times, otherwise (‘else’) do something else. I think it’s one of the single most simple, powerful, and elegant instruction sets, and I love it for that alone.
As a tool for choreographing, it can produce amazingly complex movement and interaction from quite simple beginnings: A space can be divided up into zones, ‘if here do this, else do that’, proximity to other dancers, other inputs, visual aural, all can be used as triggers acting on short and discrete blocks of movement. The real fun begins when you’re executing one loop, and something comes along and initiates another, then another, then another, and you have to keep it all going at once without suffering brain meltdown.
Robots probably do it better and more accurately.
Independent Robotic Community, by Ricardo Iglesias and Gerald Kogler, looks for new forms of interaction between robots and humans.
A first level features a community of small robots divided into two groups, the black one and the green one. Each group has a primary level of socialization and a series of sounds conforming a unique vocabulary. Each robot’s initial state consists of a very simple movement within a delimitated spatial environment. When it comes across other robots, it exchanges information about its state with sounds and increases its degree of socialization. Each increase implies a development in the complexity of movements.