Deconstructing Proxies



August 2023 — Present (Ongoing)


What is the relationship between dance and technology? How can the kinesthetic dimensions of interaction be made visible? These are key questions that motivate the work behind Proxies, a dance theatre production currently in development by choreographer Ilya Vidrin. By fusing dance, music, design, and technology, the production considers what can and cannot be captured through technology about how we relate to ourselves and one another, and aims to make visible both what is surfaced in that technological mediation as well as what is lost in the process of representation.

This case study, written in collaboration with Ilya Vidrin, reflects on the role of technology, data, artistic performance, and design as media of inquiry into these provocations. It introduces the compositional structure of Proxies, situates the use of technology and design within that structure, and discusses the major questions, challenges, successes, and failures encountered through applying design as method and technology as material for grappling with these provocations. Ultimately, this case study offers just one reflection on what it means to incorporate technology and design into dance performance, and suggests that well beyond what is creatively afforded by their integration, many more questions of fidelity, suitability, and appropriateness arise that urgently demand critical reflection, rather than unreflective adoption.