Aesthetic Labwork

From October 2007 until December 2009, dancer-choreographers of the EGM team worked in the aesthetic lab. Their almost 30 exploratory sessions generally lasted between one and three days. Until June 2008 work evolved around prototypic scenarios with motion tracking without a full body model. From then on, an increasing part of the explorations used scenarios working with the preparation-intensive full body motion tracking with a software body model. Artistic research in the aesthetic lab, while being based on similar methods, took place in three modes with different attitudes towards the intermedial experience of dancing the virtual instrument:


Mode 1: Embodiment-oriented explorations

Unguided and unprepared explorations of scenarios and sound materials, often confronting dancers with new scenarios, new sound materials, or new scenario settings and tracked point locations. These explorations were highly spontaneous and improvisatory in kind, and strove towards encountering and establishing locations, gestures, poses and other shapes and  sequences of a felt aptness between bodily motion and the sonic topology.


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Magdalena Chowaniec enacting the bodily space defined by the sound distribution given in a Pose-Scenario (full body/15 points motion tracking)

Mode 2: Ideokinetic enhancement

Movement philosopher and dance phenomenologist Jaana Parviainen used her dance and choreographic background to apply her theoretical phenomenological approach when working in the EGM aesthetic lab with Anna Nowak on phenomena of intermedial experience. Parviainen’s input on the exploration was to seek out an imaginative enhancement of the experiential quality to clarify and emphasise its expression. Anna in Wonderland, a piece performed in the context of a colloquium with philosopher Rob van Gerwen, was a result of this research. For an elaborate account of her research at EGM see [Parviainen, “Dwelling in the virtual sonic environment: Phenomenological analysis of dancers’ learning processes in working with the MEG interface”, accepted for: The European Legacy Journal]


Mode 3: Large-scale performance/presentation oriented

While in modes 1 and 2 the explored scenario’s sound component was left largely unaltered, another work mode involved ongoing collaborative composition with the aim to arrive at performance streamlining and repeatability. This mode of work, like the ideokinetic enhancement, involved some rehearsing of fixed materials next to the improvisatory element, but here not only for the purpose of presentation, but also for the inclusion of a more deliberate form. The piece Bodyscapes is an example of work in this mode.