Thought Dance

Thought Dance_Photo by Erato Tzavara

Thought Dance (2011)

Thought Dance is a research project by Matthias Sperling, exploring the use of technology to create an interactive installation in which the audience member is the dancer and the movement of thought in their brain is the dance. The project used EEG brain-scanning technology to question not only what we recognise as dance, but also how we perceive the relationship between our bodies and our minds.

Sperling proposed an installation that is experienced by two participants at a time, each wearing a wireless EEG headset. Participants face one another across a table-sized box structure, the top of which features a projected image of a grid of brightly coloured squares, like a disco dance floor. After training the system to recognise however they think 'push', they begin to reconfigure the design of the dance floor by each selecting a square of a particular colour and using their thought action to move it within the image, leaving a colour trace wherever it goes. By modulating the duration and intensity of their thought action, participants can vary how far each selected square moves. The technology thus stages an experience for participants, of performing a visible and shared dance that is composed entirely of thought acts.

Collaborators: Matthias Sperling (Choreographer), Prof. David Brown and Steven Battersby of Nottingham Trent University's Interactive Systems Research Group (Software Programming), Scanner (Sound Design), Neil Wissink (Visual Design) and Sam Collins (Production Design).

Thought Dance was created in association with Nottingham Trent University, commissioned by Dance Digital, and supported by the BDE Research Project 2010 and Dance4 with contributing funds from Birmingham Hippodrome and The Place.

Click here to view a video interview with Matthias Sperling about Thought Dance.