Suzan Tunca

Suzan Tunca

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Suzan Tunca is a Dance Researcher for ICKamsterdam and this project was undertaken in collaboration with Motion Bank


Heritage preservation of contemporary dance and choreography through research and innovation in digital documentation and annotation of creative processes

ICKamsterdam and Motion Bank.

ICKamsterdam and Motion Bank join forces to optimize caring for the heritage of contemporary dance and choreography through the invention of new forms of digital documentation, notation and transmission of embodied knowledge. This unique collaboration integrates the verbal movement language research of Emio Greco I PC and ICKamsterdam with the annotation systems and goals of Motion Bank software development. In this way digital preservation media development is linked directly to the potential of establishing working vocabularies specific to various choreographers and performing artists. Documenting and annotating processes in performance creation enables the safeguarding of ephemeral and ineffable artistic contents in dance through time.

Research activities at ICKamsterdam are conducted under the thematic umbrella of dance documentation, notation, and embodied knowledge transmission. The purpose of this research is not only the preservation and evolution of contemporary dance and choreography, but also to connect to the broader field of art and knowledge domains outside of dance practice and discourse. Between 2005 — 2014 this research was based on the work of choreographers Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten and conducted in collaboration between dancer-researcher Bertha Bermúdez and digital dance scholar Scott deLahunta. This collaboration supported innovation in two areas. Firstly, the invention of new forms of dance analysis focused on the articulation of diverse principles and methods. Secondly, working with digital media specialists on the recording, preservation and presentation of embodied dance knowledge in new ways. This research has moved through several phases, including the development of an interactive installation based on the workshop Double Skin/ Double Mind (2005-2007) and the interdisciplinary Inside Movement Knowledge (IMK) research project 2008-2010, during which a generic Documentation Model for contemporary dance based on research in media art preservation was developed. Since 2014, the focus of research has shifted towards the documentation of creative processes in relation to other choreographers working at ICKamsterdam. To continue bringing these information resources into constructive dialogue with evolving digital technologies, a new partnership between ICKamsterdam and Motion Bank was initiated in 2016. This new partnership builds on the legacy of this earlier phase of research and continues the commitment to communicating and sharing the ineffable forms of knowledge embodied in dance with the wider fields. The new focus is on sustainable digital preservation working with the annotation systems currently in development by Motion Bank.

Motion Bank began under the co-direction of Scott deLahunta in 2010 as a project of the Forsythe Company providing a broad context for research into choreographic practice, initially focusing on the creation of on-line digital scores developed with a range of renowned choreographers. The goal was to make their diverse approaches accessible in new ways through digital media. To support this work Motion Bank further developed the video annotation software called Piecemaker (PM) used by The Forsythe Company to support their creation processes. In 2016, ICKamsterdam began to use a new version of this software, PM2, for the live- and post annotation of creative processes of diverse choreographers to test and invent methods for dance documentation that could function as rich visual/textual resources. The use of PM2 for the documentation of creative processes for new pieces as well as of repertoire re-staging and ongoing movement language research at ICKamsterdam resulted in an archive of five annotated choreographic creative processes to be used for further research and innovation activities within both fields: digital preservation technology and the development of methodologies for annotating creative processes in performative art forms. This research archive exists in parallel with a large archive collection of 20 years of performances and creative processes of choreographic work by Greco and Scholten inclusive of video registrations of guest choreographers working at ICKamsterdam. Whereas Motion Bank has provided ICKamsterdam with an innovative software platform, it has been the ongoing movement language research conducted by Greco and Scholten for nearly two decades, now collected in a working vocabulary called ABCdaire, which has been shown to enrich video annotations beyond the descriptive level. The application of the ICK ABCdaire within the PM2 annotation technology has far reaching benefits for Motion Bank who are in the process of developing and releasing PM3, a fully open source, standards compliant version of the annotation system.

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