Late to the Stage: Performing Queries

May 21st, 2010 |

Hi all. Competing for the distinction of being last to post my interests. I share the self-identification as a “digital humanities newbie”, though I am more likely to characterize my career as evolving rather than changing. Music performer > music educator > ethnomusicologist > Southeast Asia area studies librarian > curator of musical instruments > curator of a dance ethnography archive.

For the past 18 months, I have been engaged daily with a brilliant faculty of performing artists and their students (undergrads and grads) who are now being challenged in a changing academic environment and curriculum that encourages a very humanistic approach and reflection upon their art. As I am embedded in the academic department (as opposed to being cordoned off in the library), I am in a unique position to play a significant role in their information resources and access needs and, in return, to learn from them.

And what I have encountered are a group of scholars and students who are extraordinarily fluent in the vocabulary of movement (across many dance disciplines, somatics, etc.) but experience significant barriers to information creation, retrieval, and regeneration simply because traditional modes are not their primary language. And so, as I begin my own PhD program in the School of Arts, Media, and Engineering at ASU (and continue in my position of archive curator in the School of Dance), I am interested in exploring the potential for other modes of information query and access. This could be movement-based, music-based (and one can think in very broad terms about the spatial and temporal here), or any combination thereof.

There are existent tools and efforts in dance scholarship (dance and movement notation systems, choreographic software, clear dance grammars, explorations of “writing about movement”, projects such as Synchronous Objects ), which could seemingly be paired with tools such as motion capture and the fine work that most of you are engaged in. I just want to connect the dots. And THATCamp seems the perfect place to start.

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One Response to “Late to the Stage: Performing Queries”

  1. JenServenti Says:

    You may be interested in a recently-funded Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant project at the University of Virginia titled the ARTeFACT Movement Thesaurus.

    Here’s the description from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities Library of Funded Projects: .

    I’m happy to provide additional information if you’d like. Just find me in hallways at THATCamp– I’ll be the one with chocolate.


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