Algo-rythms. Further developing the moving communities workshop.

Coding algorithms are a set of computational rules that govern informatic programs. Autonomous agents is a coding concept that refers to any entity that makes its own choices about how to act in its environment without any influence from a leader or global plan. 

Three key concepts:

  • An autonomous agent has a limited ability to perceive environment
  • An autonomous agent processes the information from its environment and calculates an action.
  • An autonomous agent has no leader. 

Live matter and being could be conceptualized as autonomous agents governed by a set of rules that generate emerging behaviours such as swarming.

In the case of swarming, the behaviour was conceptualized by The boids computer program created by Craig Reynolds in 1986. Among others these are some of the rules that conform that behaviour:

  1. separation: steer to avoid crowding local flockmates
  2. alignment: steer towards the average heading of local flockmates
  3. cohesion: steer to move towards the average position (center of mass) of local flockmates

In the other hand a great amount of contemporary dance and physical theatre practice and teaching is based upon the layering of specific tasks and rules froma an external eye that may provoke emergent behaviour to happen. The role of the “director” in this case is 1. setting of tasks and  2. curating the generated material.

Research questions: 

What if we could use algorithmic rules as tasks in a dance-theatre setting?

Which result might we get?

How this could inform both performing arts and generative art? 

In the context of our exploration of the interface between performing arts, design, futuring and social transformation, in august 2019 we developed a workshop which took place in Ávila which main goal was to use the body as a means to reflection around some ideas orbiting around the concept of community. The initial structure of the workshop can be consulted here.

Some of the ideas of this workshop were taken from both HOLON’s research around performing transitions and Rachel’s personal work exploring the qualities and implications of swarm behaviour.

This research statement sets a new possible exploration line for future replications of the workshop and hopes to set an open conversation with other designers, artists and so on.

An implementation of the boids program can be explored here:

[Bonus ]

Some artist exploring algorithmic choreography:


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