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Practicing Ethical Entanglements: A Roundtable About Thinking Forward in Technological Praxis

We are convening a conversation for Dance Studies Association with Ashley Ferro-Murray, Teoma Nacaratto, Ian Heisters, and John McCallum under a provocation that we’ve been thinking a lot about: “Practicing Ethical Entanglements: A Roundtable About Thinking Forward in Technological Praxis.” Here is the abstract:

At the intersections of dance and technology, activism is often characterized in terms of refusal: resisting the spectacle of technologically produced images in favor of glitch aesthetics; rejecting the idea that motion sensor data stands for the complexity of individual experience rather than an assemblage of labor that works across multiple bodies; renouncing the complicity of dance in robotic or media spectacles that consolidate privilege, power, and capital. Yet, amidst this backdrop of systemic critique emerge ways of working otherwise, as dance practitioners and scholars engage in critical praxis that is ethically and aesthetically rooted in entanglement. A politics of refusal — sometimes the default position of mainstream Dance Studies — is no longer sufficient to address the place of dance within the pervasive computational, algorithmic, quantitative, biopolitical, and networked logics that organize contemporary socio-political life on a global scale. Nor indeed are generic phrases like “dance and technology” appropriate catchalls for the specificity of ethical engagement that makes possible the deepening articulation of moving bodies through robotics, artificial intelligence, biosensing, human computer interaction, data visualization, critical data studies, or computer vision, while not overlooking the technical and cultural baggage that they carry. In many examples, it is precisely the artists working within the realm of resistance and activism who are pulling from, relying on, and activating technology in relation to their practice. This roundtable investigates creative strategies for resilience beyond refusal by bringing together individuals and collaboration teams from multiple vantage points: curation, creative technology, historical research, and professional practice.

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