The Challenge of the Inter in the Preservation of Cultural Heritage; The Intangibility of the Material and Immaterial Dancing Body in Performance

  • Sarah Whatley
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7990)


The intersection between the dancing body and digital technology produces new kinds of performative events that often exist only in the ‘now’ of event/user/audience interaction, resisting documenting and preserving in conventional ways, so are largely absent from our cultural heritage. As interlocutor, the artist is forever vital in the work existing and communicating, yet removed and absent in what remains; the living artist disappears into ‘data’. How do these digital corporeal embodiments then generate new kinds of artefacts? Are these ‘re-enactments’ more easily captured and preserved and if so, how do they disrupt what constitutes ‘cultural heritage’ and how we access and value our performing artists and their outputs? This presentation will explore these questions by drawing on the work of UK-based dance artist Ruth Gibson who uses motion capture technology to create visualisations of dancers for intermedial environments (exhibitions, installations and applications for mobile platforms). What does this work tell us about our relationship with the material and immaterial in performance, and our tools and methods for its preservation? I will argue that dance’s contribution to our cultural heritage is intangible yet fundamental for emphasising the vitality of the corporeal, expressive body in our performing arts cultural heritage.


dance digital motion capture corporeality intermediality materiality 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Whatley
    • 1
  1. 1.Coventry UniversityCoventryUK

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