to Feb 18

Why Should Our Bodies End at the Skin? @ Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology

Recipients of an Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology 2018 Commission, Aurie and Steven Kemper premiere our new collaborative piece, Why Should Our Bodies End at the Skin? for sensor-equipped belly dancer, robotic percussion, and live sound processing.  Schedule TBA.  

Why Should Our Bodies End at the Skin? for sensor-equipped belly dancer, robotic percussion, and live sound processing, explores questions of intersectionality and fluidity between organism and machine as raised in Donna Haraway’s 1984 essay “A Cyborg Manifesto.” In a broad sense, these intersections between human and machine suggest hybrid bodies, raising questions about embodiment in our contemporary techno-culture where the lines between organism and machine become indistinguishable.

This performance enacts Haraway’s idea of a “cyborg world” consisting of “lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship between animals and machines.” Why Should Our Bodies End at the Skin? realizes the capability of the hybrid body in performance, sonically connecting mechanized human movement and humanized robotic action. Robotic percussion surrounds the dancer, serving as a visual and sonic extension of the dancer’s body. The RAKS (Remote electroAcoustic Kinesthetic Sensing) system, a wireless wearable sensor interface, translates the dancer’s movement into activations of the robotic percussion instrument CADI (Configurable Automatic Percussion Instrument). Through the RAKS system, the dancer also controls computer-generated sound processing and synthesis.


The interaction between dancer, CADI, and sound processing is modeled after the drum solo, a Middle Eastern musical form consisting of a fast-tempo virtuosic improvisation where the lines between leader and follower are indistinguishable. The piece reflects this blurring of roles in the relationship between human and machine, creating a feedback loop between the dancer’s movements and CADI’s mechanical actions. The choreography reflects the mechanical nature of robotic movement with isolations and body locks, while CADI produces a visual and sonic echo of this movement through rhythmic and sustained textures.

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8:00 PM20:00

Sonic Currents - Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA

Presented by Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The inaugural Sonic Currents, a concert of contemporary electroacoustic music.

Aurie Hsu and Steven Kemper will perform teka-mori for belly dance, RAKS (Remote electroAcoustic Kinesthetic Sensing) system, and computer generated sound and shadows no. 6 for  belly dancer, RAKS (Remote electroAcoustic Kinesthetic Sensing) system, and EMMI (Expressive Machines Musical Instruments).  

Time: 5:30-10:00pm



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to May 11

time-space capsule with de novo dance company

performed by de novo dance and guest artists
with seniors from HANAC Harmony Innovative Senior Center, Astoria Queens

One Bryant Park Urban Garden Room (corner of 43rd and Avenue of the Americas (6th Ave))
Made possible by chashama (http://www.chashama.org)

In this site-specific performance, we inhabit the Urban Garden space for 6 days between hours 8PM and 12AM. “Time-space capsule”invites the artists and the audience to enter a suspended time-space in the midst of ever accelerating New York City in search for glimpses of stillness, simplicity, nature, and beauty. We use movement, non-movement, visibility and invisibility, vulnerability, and public engagement as vehicles for transformation.

time-space capsule artists:
Interactive music: Steven Kemper and Aurie Hsu
Performers: Irina Kom, Ian Wen, Steven Kemper, Aurie Hsu, Erin Holmes, Lauren Jeanette, Bob Lyness, Hiram Pines, Lauren Robbiani, Maria Estefania Vaz Ferreira, Mattie Waters, Baptiste Denient, and Jayoung YoonWith participants from the HANAC Harmony Innovative Senior Center in Astoria, Queens: Steven George, Alice Jaworsky, and Maria 

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