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Ep. 11: Responding to the Crisis, Constraints of Funding, and Visions for the Future, Part Two with Ghislaine Boddington

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Responding to the Crisis, Constraints of Funding, and Visions for the Future, Part Two with Ghislaine Boddington.

Episode 11: Show Notes.

These unprecedented times have turned the dance world on its head. With many performances and festivals being cancelled, we have now turned to the digital world to connect once more. But can these online platforms provide the same intimacy as a live audience? Or do we have to consider this new form a part of the enduring reality? Do these platforms dilute or strengthen engagement? These are the questions of the times we find ourselves in, and ones Ghislaine Boddington has been asking throughout her extensive career. In this episode, which is part two of a discussion with Ghislaine, we talk about how younger dance artists can work to create connections with the tech world. We also talk about the reality of funding for dance tech and how the lack of it has stifled its growth. While the tide is turning, many funders and organisations are still hesitant to veer too far away from the traditional, safe dance forms. There is a strong belief that bringing digital technologies into dance will detract from the art form, but Ghislaine feels that this is short-sighted. Not only have performing arts always used technology but when used effectively, digital platforms can make dance accessible to audiences ordinarily excluded. Our discussion also touches on the idea of failing and why dancers need to become better at it, the importance of dance artists inserting themselves in debates, and Ghislaine’s hope for our future, networked multi-selves. Tune in!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The ways that dancers and dance companies have responded to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Ghislaine’s advice for young dancers who have social access to someone working in tech.
  • How dance groups can use a mixed-economic model to further their practice.
  • Find out more about Ghislaine’s project that she’s worked on at SAT in Montreal.
  • The reactions to Ghislaine’s work and how they have evolved over time.
  • Why it’s important to include as many voices in the debates around technology as possible.
  • Find out more about the senses and why the belief that we only have five is not correct.
  • How a lack of funding inhibited the growth of dance tech.
  • Two things that have happened recently that enabled the development of dance tech.
  • A big mistake Ghislaine has noticed with the growth of dance tech.
  • What dancers and dance groups can learn from startups about failing.
  • There is not the continuity of exploring the same subject in dance like with other art forms.
  • Ghislaine’s hope for the future and how dance will shape society and our ideas of the body.

“There’s no way that any of us have found the answers. It’s still so much further to go, and it could be a technological breakthrough of some type any week.” — @GBoddington [0:15:38]

“Groups first going into working with tech, they underestimate the time and the money needed.” — @GBoddington [0:28:03]

“The issue of failure is enhanced by the fact that we’re meant to do something new all the time.” — @GBoddington [0:28:30]

“I hope in the most positive way that actually there will be ways for us to interact together through gesture and movement to create very positive, joyful scenarios, loving scenarios but also knowledge exchange in the most positive way.” — @GBoddington [0:28:30]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Ghislaine Boddington

Ghislaine is an artist, curator, researcher, and director who believes we should use our whole bodies as a means for digital interaction. She comes at tech from the performing arts, which inspires her embodied perspective and ongoing creative practice. Ghislaine is intrigued by technology’s immersive potential and often explores the ability of technology to augment our senses through her performance works and interactive installations. She sees a future in which we connect ourselves into a networked “multi-self,” an “Internet of Bodies” bound by sensors and implants, tele-intuition, and a dissolution of the boundaries between physical and virtual.

As the creative director of body>data>space, Ghislaine advocates for the living body as the focus of all interaction design, an approach which leads to a stunning blend of performance, architecture, new media, and virtual worlds. She is also the co-founder and director of Women Shift Digital, a conference, debate, website, and program series for people of all genders designed to celebrate women in digital careers and influence the influencers.She presents worldwide and consults for the creative industries sector on the evolution of body technologies and her work as a curator includes Nesta’s FutureFest events (2015-18).

A Reader in Digital Immersion at University of Greenwich, she sits on the Editorial Board of AI & Society (Springer), is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, is spokesperson for the Deutsche Bank Women Entrepreneurs in Social Tech accelerator, and also the co-host of the BBC’s flagship technology radio program, BBC Digital Planet.

Nina Jane Patel

As an experienced and committed arts professional, Nina is dedicated to revealing, highlighting and elevating the role of Arts for a healthy society. Nina is experienced in innovation and development of ideas at the intersection of Arts and Technology and was recently awarded seed funding to develop the MVP software, DAYA. As the Director of she has led a team of creatives developing technology solutions for arts organisations.

Nina has a wide range of experience within organisations across Canada and the UK, including Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Arts in Health NHS (Central North West London), Seeta Patel Dance Ltd., Ballet BC, MascallDance, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Gear Shifting Dance, Dancer Transition Resource Centre and Canada’s Dancing on the Edge Festival as well as numerous independent dance artists. As a natural problem solver and strategic thinker, Nina is particularly experienced in organisational development, outreach/participation impact strategy, and fundraising. Nina is currently advising dance artists/orgs keen to identify sustainable development strategies for international creative exchange.

Nina is an award winning dancer and choreographer and a recent recipient of a Digital Arts Strategy Grant, selected in the inaugural cohort of Cultural Leadership Program at the Banff Centre for Arts + Creativity, an ISPA Fellow 2019-2022, and most recently identified as an mid-career leader by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. Nina is committed to innovation and revolution of the Arts sector for the benefit of all.

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