This article discusses the digital dance archive Siobhan Davies RePlay to explore how the dancer's making and performance process translates to an online environment, to ask what is lost and what is gained? It will consider how the digital environment captures and transmits the material form of the 'object' and how RePlay seeks to convey something of the mutable nature of dance rather than a static, unchanging digital resource. The article will focus particularly on one aspect of RePlay, which more that any other part of the archive reveals the process of design and its role in conveying the artistic vision of the choreographer (Siobhan Davies) and the whole creative team involved in the archive development. These 'kitchens' are designed to provide users with a different experience of two dance works: Bird Song (2004) and In Plain Clothes (2006). Named 'kitchens' as a reference to a process involved in the construction of a dance work that is analogous to 'cooking', the kitchens were designed to enable the user to 'peel back' the many layers within the creative process of making and performing a dance. These two very different digital objects are designed to offer a visual way of comprehending the structure of the dance; the relationship between dance, sound, costume design and scenography; and to offer access to the dancer's own observations and reflections on their making process. Score-like in form, they also can be reactivated or reconstructed by the user, in physical or virtual space. But ultimately each exists as an aesthetic object in its own right, whilst offering a novel approach to distributing dance and the knowledge that is embodied within the dance.
Bibliographical noteAuthor's note: Significance: -
The article focuses on the archive and design, and specifically the micro-sites within RePlay which are consciously designed objects that offer a different way of exploring dance online. The paper was invited on the basis of Whatley’s keynote talk at the ECLAP conference, Florence, Italy (May 2012).
- digital archive
- Siobhan Davies