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Why IJAD works with digital technology

While digital technology gives us the power to be transparent and collaborative with our audiences by sharing rehearsals and inviting audience creativity online, it requires a fresh approach to choreography. IJAD is developing a technique to meet these new needs: sensography. Digital performance makes new choreographic and dramaturgical demands, from delays in audience response to designing movement that can be satisfactorily viewed from any angle. Sensography builds on 360 degree awareness of the body, responsiveness to creative contributions and episodic structures. We are committed to harnessing technology and physicality to develop new sensations of liveness for remote audiences. Rather than recreating a live experience for digital media we want to develop choreography that connects powerfully, both physically and digitally. This new genre of performance requires intense collaboration between choreographer, performers, camera operators and live editor, in much the same way as a choreographer collaborates with set, sound and costume designers.

IJAD’s vision for digital co-creation: Orbits

The Beast is a digital co-creation platform that organizes, connects, and honours creative audience contributions to an artistic project. It is a tool for artists to broaden their creative horizons and for audiences to be creative and impact new work. The Beast is a responsive mind-map built by a digital community that reflects its creativity, diversity, and shifting interests.

RESEARCH 2016-17

During IJAD residency at FACT Liverpool 2016-2017, The company collaborated with Citrus Suite to develop an online platform to increase co-creation between audience and artist, provide a space for personal creativity and an accessible digital platform for experiencing live performance work. The digital platform: Open Online Theatre has premiered on the 12th of January 2017 and it is being employed during the devising process towards a series of contemporary dance performances at the venue in January 2017.

The development of the new technology has a strong participatory strand building on IJAD’s community outreach work and supported by FACT’s Collaborations and Engagement team. Reaching three distinct cohorts participants will develop skills in digital technology development, design and project management skills. The cohorts correlate to the platform’s intended end-users whilst also reflecting under-represented communities as identified by FACT’s research. Their input will feed directly into the development of the platform ensuring it is user-friendly, accessible and relevant.

IJAD’s commitment to digital engagement

As technology has moved on, so has the means by which IJAD creates its work and makes it accessible to and responsive to audiences. We make excellent use of technology to, firstly, transform the role of our audiences from passive voyeurs into co-creators and, secondly, to enable virtual audiences – those who cannot physically be at our performances – to engage in contemporary dance as a multi-dimensional artform rather than as a flat image on a screen.

In order to effectively manage and integrate these two aspects of our work, we need to collaborate with web developers to launch a platform through which we can engage with online audiences. This platform will give our audiences the opportunity to feed their creative ideas into our work and take control of their viewing experience

Our audience as co-creators

Our online platform will allow choreographers, dancers and other artists share the seeds of their work - whether a theme, a story, an image – and, via social media, invite audiences to contribute text, pictures, and videos in response which can then be reflected in the narrative and choreography of our work. It will then enable audiences to:

• View and make connections between the artists’ source materials

• View regular live-streams of rehearsals and performances

• Share their creative responses with the artist. These responses, provided on paper, social media, or via email, become part of platform’s ecosystem

• Place their input directly onto the platform in a position they feel is appropriate and move the content around on their screen so they can view the ideas sequentially or in juxtaposition to one another

• Draw connecting lines between their and others’ contributions, reinforcing existing links or forging new ones so that unexpected clusters emerge, reflecting what users see as valuable, valid, and of interest.

We want to allow our audiences to organise the material themselves. This will mean that it is a live process where contributions move around in and among other people’s ideas. This fluid web also allows our artists to see what associations their works-in-progress trigger in our audiences.

Audiences will be stimulated to contribute their ideas to our platform through the delivery of carefully timed and planned social media activity conceived by a strategist and guided by a Dramaturg, who will create the links between the social media provocations and related responses and our creative team.

It is very important to IJAD that the technology we create is enjoyable and easy to use and so user testing is very important part of this project. We want our audiences to enjoy interacting with our company and this project will give us many opportunities to test the ways in which our platform inspires our audiences to become co-creators in our work.

Giving our virtual audiences a fuller experience

Alongside our emphasis on audiences becoming co-creators in our work, we are also committed to finding ways in which virtual audiences – those who are not able to be with us in person – are able to have a fuller experience of our performances. As dance relies on movement being presented across all three dimensions, we want to give our virtual audiences the ability to control their viewing angle so that they become active participants in our work.

In order to achieve this, we need to work with our web developers and interaction designers to ensure that our platform is able to:

·Offer virtual audiences the ability to choose the angle from which they view the performance

·Give our audiences the ability to view our performance alongside the contributions of source material from our artists and other audience members and the interactions with our company stimulated via social media

We will be user-testing our platform at every stage of its development so that we can be sure that it both encourages and is responsive to audience interaction. Our digital audience will also be able to be part of this process through interactions which take place through social media, curated by our social media strategist and dramaturg.

 ©2017 IJAD Dance Company

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