I created balance between exertion and recooperation, and gave myself some freedom to experiment creatively within the commands. While rehearsing, I discovered ways of thinking of movement invention, choreographic methods and pedagogy. I realized that VICKI was improving my technique as a dancer, performer, teacher and choreographer. I physically experienced new connections in my body that I’d never felt before and became hyper-aware of my phrasing. I rediscovered the importance of language in instructing dance. I made commands that allowed me to get in and out of movement I had just made in ways that placed new physical demands on me in ways I’d never previously considered constructing. I would often be under extremely surprising and unfamiliar physical demands that trained my sensitivity differently than technique classes.
In training for the performance of Choreobot, I was not training to be suitable for techniques of today, I was training to be able to adapt to spontaneous interruptions of intention – a new kind of rigor. VICKI can be reformatted as a training program, or a creative tool for dance makers and to create entirely new pieces.
VICKI can create stand-alone choreography. What would it mean to present the work of the bot without her on stage? Would audiences be able to watch a piece that was created by a robot which was created by a person? What would that mean? What would they think? What the if the piece came out looking like other choreography? How would critics receive an evening of pieces created by “artificial intelligence”? How might interacting with digits in a graphical programming language distill choreographic options in terms of an un-embodied language? Using VICKI to establish the context and structure of a dance may lead to new modes of conceiving of performance and choreography.
To, in a way, choreograph the dance possibilities first, and then place the dancers in those possibilities, would not place importance on selecting or working with dancers to achieve whatever the goal of the piece is – whether it is choreographing a work and giving it to the dancers, or making the work with the dancers. It would mean that the dancers would interact with the commands of VICKI independently at the same time, in a shared space. The focus here is not on unison or even cohesion, but on how each individual faces the challenge and finds his or her own time, effort, and interpretation of the instructions given.
There is a comparison innately embedded in making disembodied pieces for the performance of human beings, and the digitally mediated world we live in – so many of us communicating facelessly or voicelessly through emails and cell phones and virtual worlds on the internet. It is a self-involved way of communicating – that places the emphasis on each individual’s personal decisions with time and effort (much like dancers using the bot).