The Falling Into Dance project posed the question, Can designers learn useful concepts and techniques from dancers for designing interactive technologies?
Through observation and participatory design approaches, understandings of how dancers work with the body inspired a range of methods and tools for generating, exploring and evaluating movement for use as input to interactive technologies. These form part of my design methodology of Moving and Making Strange. The motivation for designers is the capacity to work in a more informed way with movement as input into interaction by giving them tools and techniques for generating, evaluating and performing movement-related concepts through embodied skills and sensibilities.
A study of falling was undertaken as a first step in understanding how skilled movers approach a specific action. Falling is conceptualised as making strange with our everyday actions. The action of falling is a common occurrence in our movement patterns as children. As we grow older it recedes from the movement repertoire of most adults, only to return in a more vulnerable form in our old age. In this study we viewed dancers as the ethnographic exotic in order to defamiliarise everyday movements. The act of falling was analysed from two perspectives: First-person subjective experience and external observation of movements for input into motion-sensing technologies.
A second strand of investigation is how to represent the moving body in ways that are useful for designers of interactive motion-sensing technologies. The representations were crafted with the twofold objective of a) highlighting the aspects of movement for interactive treatment and b) acting as return points to the enactment of movement.
Participatory design workshops were held with dancers to explore methods and tools for designing an immersive interface for a choreographic dancework, The Divine and Bodily Experience. See journal paper for more details http://www.ijdesign.org/ojs/index.php/IJDesign/article/view/714/302