Art and technology: the singularity of it all

Studying the human body as an instrument of communication provides the opportunity to see its physical and biological relationships emerge in the world around it.  I became involved in the arts simply for the appreciation of the human body, but now living in a world submerged in the power of technology, the collaboration between arts and technology has become more and more prevalent.  Art forms, such as dance, have begun to utilize this collaboration, becoming a critical contributor of modern body and mind discoveries.

Raymond Kurzweil, an American academicand author.
Raymond Kurzweil, an American academicand author. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We set an alarm; we wake up. We have not only immersed ourselves in technology, but we now have become reliant on it.  According To Ray Kurzweil, inventor, futurist and author, the recent shift towards visual stimuli such as digital media to communicate concrete information has changed the way we perceive data.   Rather than a right or left brain oriented society that appears throughout history in trends of male or female dominance, modern day technological advances are stimulating the linear and abstract hemispheres to react and syncopate differently than ever before.  With this, opportunities for artistic, multi-dimensional discovery have effected contemporary dance choreographers’ worldwide.

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According to Leonard Shlain, surgeon and writer, the dominant brain, developed eyes, and opposable thumbs have led millions of years of evolution to create superior homo sapiens, steering evolution to diverge from its biological path to a technological adventure.  Because the human race has no biological predator, evolution is now concentrated on improving technology. Soon enough, humans and technology will become one: singularity.

As a contemporary artist, I discovered that dance can no longer solely be movement because the horizon of opportunity has widened.  The ability to merge the artistic, abstract brain with a technological, concrete brain is now available to us.  These new technologies are beginning to influence not only our bodies, but the connection between our body, mind, and environment in new ways.  Fully utilizing technological advancements for our biological understanding as a piece of art is a common trend of contemporary dance groups.

Contemporary choreographer, Wayne McGregor, is working in collaboration with the University of Plymouth’s Department of Psychology, City University London’s Cognition and Brain Studies Unit, and the University of California’s Interactive Cognition Lab on projects such as Distributed Choreographic Cognition.  Objectives of this initiative is to: “(1) record and analyze the coordination of choreographic thought and action between choreographer and dancers during creation process; and (2) to visualize the evolution of choreographic form for the audience,” described on www.randomdance.org.  Other projects include Enhancing Choreographic Objects, LABO21 – Research on Artistic Methodologies, Trinity Laban Partnership, and Choreographic Thinking Tools Resource – Creative Potential.  Various other contemporary choreographers such as William Forsythe and Emio Greco are working on innovative research platforms as well.

According to Kurzweil, technology thrives on the Law of Exponential Returns, growing with a multiplicity so fast that many leading scientists believe singularity is well on its way.  There are three intelligences that the body and mind are beginning to endure: genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics.  We are on the brink of mastering our genetics to fully understand our biological intelligence, developments are being made in nanotechnology to merge biological and nonbiological intelligences to prevent aging, illness, and death, and robotics are being utilized for advancement in artificial intelligences for the betterment of humanity.  Soon enough, these three intelligences will become part of everyday life, influencing society, hence social commentary: dance.

We live in our bodies day in and day out, and as the days continue, we grow closer to a time where the days we spend on Earth could adapt the rapid growth of the Law of Exponential Returns.  Understanding the organism we live in to express our everyday thoughts and feelings is critical as technology begins to become more integrated into everyday life.  Connectedness is important in a world of 7 billion people; making our world seem smaller among the growing population gives us a feeling of importance; that the things we learn, discover, and improve matter.  The world continues to change day in and day out, and we must always remember to set our alarms to get up and take part in it.

Content producer Sarah Prinz can be reached at news@collegian.com.