Research Critique: Dance Performance

Eiko & Koma, My Parents

In this choreography, the movements are explained with a voice over/narration: it depicts the life of both Eiko and Koma, who seek social change and self-aspiration by being dancers. In their gestures and movements, they always stick together and move in response to one another: as the female rotated her body, the head of the male followed; as one of the hand hit, the hand of the other partner hit as well. Such glued togetherness might be used to show how the two merged as one, as dancer and the love in life, because they said “to be with someone before they die might be a good thing.” There are a lot of body and limbs twisting. Most of the motions are excruciatingly slow, accompanied by traditional Japanese instrumental sound. In my opinion, the dynamism of the whole performance lies not in the choreography, but in the video as a whole. The choreography shows not much changes in position and speed, but the moving video/images are the source of speed and movement variations.

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Their movements on the ground

Opinion about Eiko & Koma

They are really experimental in their artwork and it has a lot of deep meaning in their concepts for e.g. the trees (?) live and grow on the ground and die on the ground, hence their movements are flat on the floor. However, in this video (part 1), about 60-70% of the narrative is explained not through dance but videos and voice over. Maybe, the amount of those other ‘ingredients’ can be reduced and let the dance speaks for itself. In addition, maybe more variation in movements, speed, sound and positions, may create a better performance. Overall, it is unique and one of a kind.



Motion Control

In contrast to Eiko&Koma’s performance, this dance is much more fast-paced with a lot of variation in speed, sound, movement, and even props. The whole video performance is divided into three parts: the bedroom scene, the dance in a ‘box’, and dancing in a dress attached to the floor. It plays around with angles, creating the illusion of ‘anti-gravity’ (or all direction have their own gravity). The variation in camera panning adds suspense and surprises to the whole experience watching the video. Hence, the dynamism in this performance is really strong. There is a lyrical music towards the end of the video. However, there is no explanation about the whole thing.

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The red dress is attached to the floor
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Bedroom scene
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Behind-the-scene moment

Opinion about Motion Control

When it comes to meaning, My Parents, I think, has deeper meaning than Motion Control. I do not really get the message of Motion Control but I think it is about dream (?). However, I am totally entertained by the cool body gestures and movement, and how the different sounds can be matched with the gestures (even to the smallest gestures like finger movement!). Screeching sound, for example, actually causes simple body movement ‘sound’ unrealistic (you move your waist and you hear a screeching car? that’s awesome). Moreover, the ‘anti-gravity’ effect by rotating the ‘screen/box’ is a real jaw-dropper. The dance in the red dress, when the screen is upside-down, looks like she is standing on the ceiling perfectly. This performance, in my opinion, is an excellent example of using ‘the box’ to create variation and awesomeness.

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‘Anti-gravity’ effect
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‘Anti-gravity’ effect





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She can stand on a ceiling, no?

Research Critique: Glitch Aesthetics (RIOT by Mark Napier)

About RIOT by Mark Napier

Riot is an alternative browser that crosses the virtual boundaries in the web: it breaks software-based rules of Internet domains and blends web pages together as users surf from site to site. For e.g., blends with, with Images from different websites are mixed together into the live browser for audience to see on their screen. The images were mixed randomly. Just like its name, Riot disrupts those rules and is unconventional.


“When the mixtures of banner ads, government reports and personal declarations are taken as a jumbled whole, meaning falls apart. More becomes less” – The San Francisco Gate, Glen Helfand, July 22,1999

This artwork is about the line where human nature meets technology. Internet domain supposed to be rigid, defined by hardware and software, data and instructions. However, human can recycle those information to make something new in infinite possible ways. This artwork is against ownership, copyright and branding. (more)




About Mark Napier

He is an early adopter of the web, and work as web developer for startups such as and Loan Pricing Corporation. He is also recognized as a pioneer in digital art and included in the Whitney Biennial in 2002. He taught 3D graphics programming at ITP in NYU.



Critique and Opinion

Rosa Menkman once visited the World Wide Wrong exhibition, and her experience about glitch…

“However, the work that made the biggest impression on me, UNTITLED GAME (1996-2001), which was a modification of the videogame QUAKE1, seemed the most incomprehensible. I could only understand it as irrational and void of meaning, and so I walked away from it, confused and titillated. In hindsight, I learned about myself in that moment – about my expectations and conceptions of how a videogame should work. The strange game seemed only to return me to my perspectives and expectations around the medium that it was failing to be. “

She thought the glitch art that she saw was weird, but at the end of the day, she found glitch art to be thought-provoking. The same experience happened to me as I read about RIOT by Mark Napier. The visual result of the alternative website is not bad, actually. It is interesting, but at first, what I was thinking was, “so, what?”.

Then after more research and reading different sources, I came to the conclusion that this RIOT is for us, the audience, to experience ‘digital riot’. It is also funny to imagine the elements from two entirely different sites such as and to be on the same page – it is like a self-created irony or a mock to both websites.

The fact that RIOT is not simply a static glitch art but an interactive glitch art amazes me. It is not just the technical skill of Mark Napier that caused my jaw to drop (create a website that combine websites in a website…how did he do that…) but also the intention as well as the deeper meaning of the art. Moreover, RIOT also serves as “glitch art generator” too for those who accessed the website. Isn’t that utterly cool?

I don’t think glitch art is popular enough these days (that was I observe from my surroundings). Hence, glitch art has to be explored more and to be made more popular. Just like Rosa Menkman said, “focusing on the glitch…makes it possible to think through some of the more interesting political and social uses of the glitch within the field of digital art.”

It is definitely true that “a glitch…is not always strictly a result of a technical malfuntion.”


Research Critique: Virtual Bodies in the Third Space

Virtual Bodies

There has been a lot of questions and wondering about virtual bodies in the third space: human bodies which are not in real flesh but in their digital display, like what we see on a screen. We can see them, we can hear the sound of the movement, but we can’t touch them.

With the increasing usage of digital media and the Internet, our ‘selves’ seem to be able to separate our ‘bodies’.

…the increasing acceptance that the ‘self’ can exist apart from the ‘body’ in online activities and remote erotic encounters such as phone sex. (source)

Other daily examples of this phenomenon is Skype-ing and e-relationship with fictional or non-fictional people.

With the aforementioned examples, these questions arise: are our selves really separated from our bodies? Is ‘disembodiment’ in this digital era really happening or is it just a myth?

Artists explore this topic by making arts with the concept of interaction between the physical and the virtual (Telematic Dreaming by Susan Kozel, The Big Kiss by Annie Abraham), and the conclusion is:

For them, even the experience of seeing is not disembodied; it is visceral. Seeing is feeling.



Annie Abrahams, The Big Kiss, 2007

One of the big shot artists who explore about virtual bodies is Annie Abraham.

She is a Dutch performance artist specializing in video installations and internet based performances. Her work challenges and questions the limitations and possibilities that are implicated when internet users communicated from one to another by the use of new media known as cyberformance (source).



Her work, The Big Kiss, used webcam technology to unite participants in a shared third space/electronic space. Then, they will attempt to kiss each other. The questions are…

What’s contact in a machine mediated world? What’s the power of the image? How does it feel to kiss without touching? Does the act change because we see it? What does it mean to construct an image with your tongue? And is there still desire? Does the act provoke it? What’s contact in a machine mediated world? (source)


My Opinion



Even though I am not a part of the virtual bodies shown in the video, I do still cringe whenever I watch it. I am not used to such ‘view’ and even though this kiss is ‘not real’, as a third party I am still as affected as watching a ‘real kiss’. Somehow, I found it even grosser because their lips and tongues ‘touch but did not touch’. I am partially irritated as well, I can’t explain why.

From this experience, I do agree that seeing is feeling. No matter how hard we try to ‘disembody’ our minds from or bodies, they are still closely connected, unless all of our senses are ‘disconnected’ from the experiences e.g. not seeing we kiss someone we don’t know in the third space.

Hence, the statement below is proven true:

The dislocation and fragmentation of the body in digital performance is an aesthetic praxis which deconstructive critics have hungrily grasped and mythologized, holding up the virtual body as the central icon (immaterial, disembodied), whereas in actuality, it operates as an index, as another trace and representation of the always already physical body. (source)

I can’t imagine doing that ‘big kiss’ with an unkown guy, and being watched by many eyes. OMYGOSH.



Research Critique: Sensing Garments & Smart Textiles

Sensing Garments


These garments are made to gather information on posture and movement of the user. The current project discussed in this essay is about upper limb kinesthetic garment (ULKG) which is aimed to aid rehabilitation process for post-stroke patients.

ULKG use electricity conductive silicon rubber and graphite smeared on the fabric, hence allowing the garments to conduct electricity to the sensors on the ULKG and the glove. No external wire or cable connected to external electrical components is needed, hence making the garment to be wearable and comfortable.

Moreover, with sensors accurately located on specific muscles and joints, ULKG is able to calculate the just-right amount of movement, hence movements made by ULKG on the limbs of the user will be natural and smooth. This will allow post-stroke patients to have natural muscle memory. And, as ULKG automatically adjusts the current, pressure and movements on the patient, no physician is needed to monitor the rehabilitation process. Rehabilitation can be carried out more conveniently anytime.

Smart Textiles


Smart textiles are often called electronic textiles or e-textiles. These are textiles with electronic and interconnections woven into them, making them intrinsics to the fabric, hence no external component is needed for them to function.

E-textile is divided into three subgroups:

  1. passive smart textiles: only sense the environ
    ment/user using sensors.
  2. active smart textiles: sense and react to external stimuli.
  3. very smart textiles: sense, react and adapt to the c
    hanging circumstances.

Hopefully, with the development of e-textiles, our future everyday clothing can serve as intelligent personal assistants that can be brought anywhere anytime.

This essay also explains pretty detailed explanation on how to create e-textile, hence showing the plausibility of commercializing it. For e.g., basic chemistry method such as electroplating is mentioned to be able to create a smart material called treated conducive fibers.



The first essay has a more specific topic than the second one. The first essay talks only about sensing garment and its direct application to ULKG and the glove. In the other hand, the second essay’s focus is about the possible manufacturing process of e-textile without explaining clearly the direct application of different e-textiles.

Both essays complement each other: e-textiles, which comprise sensing garment, are feasible to be made and have potential to be commercialized because they can be applied to make clothes with high functionality in the medical, artistic, sports and any other fields. 

Research Critique – Biometrics

Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes and policies – new ways of living – that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.

Hence, for a wearable to re-contextualize biomimicry, it has to have a quality imitated from natural processes and able to solve a human problem. And the project that suits this concept almost perfectly is the Aero Sports Bra by Karolina Cengija and Becca McCharen.


The Aero Sports Bra (worn under the dress) will detect the level of perspiration, respiration and body temperature and respond accordingly. For example, when the user is panting and sweating or even angry, the bra will open slightly to cool the upper body parts.

We used shape memory alloys with the goal to give it a more organic transition.

The bra is of biomimicry context because they are made to imitate the smoothness of how our body naturally changes temperature, heart rate and perspiration (article) so that our body will stay in the best comfort physically and emotionally.

However, the technology used is not yet ready to be commercialized, hence it won’t hit the market in the short run.

She is keen to emphasise, however, that these are not yet garments for sale. They are experiments that will help uncover what’s possible for future wearable technology.

In the other hand, the price of producing such high-end technology will be likely to be costly. In my opinion, this wearable will cater only to a smaller market: the upper class ones. It might be a sustainable wearable technology, but it might not help everyone for not everyone would be able to afford it in the short run.


Research Critique: Costume and Textile


The performance is called “The Space Between Us”, choreographed by Utam Moses and composed by Eric Lindsay. This performance was held in April 2010 in the United States. This performance shows dance choreography with costumes that can generate and control sound with the help of pressure and flex sensors. Designed by Amy Burell and Jay Garst, this costume allows the dancer to be able to control the strength of the audio according to the strength of his/her movements, hence making the dancer not a slave of the pre-composed music. It is not stated whether this project use open source technology or not but I think it did use OSS because this project would not happen without the networking between talents from different fields (choreographer, musician, costume designer and engineer), which would be much easier to achieve with the help of OSS. Moreover, the complexity of the technical aspects would require a convenient shared storage system, which could be done using OSS.

In my own opinion, this project is jaw-dropping and one-of-a-kind. Most of the time, people would like to create costume technology which something to do with lights (or other visual matters) instead of sound. A lot of sensors would have been used all over the body to make this marvel happen. I think this would need more than just creative minds but also the scientific ones.