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Interactive Annual 16:
information design

Synchronous Objects

Launch Live Site

“A stunning visualization project. Video meets dance meets geometry meets pattern recognition meets painting meets dimensional visualization. I know we’ll see these paradigms appear soon in some sports marketing piece. I would gladly borrow this.” —Glen Sheehan

“Unbelievably interesting and fun to explore. The visualizations are stunning and I never seemed to run out of new things to uncover.” —Mathew Ranauro


Overview: This interactive screen-based work is based on One Flat Thing, reproduced, a masterwork of visual complexity by choreographer William Forsythe. It reveals complex structures of choreographic thought through a vivid collection of 3-D computer animation, video, animated annotations and interactive creative tools. Functioning as both an online exhibition and a research space, it provides a new perspective on dance as a field of activity and inspires creative inquiry engaging a wide spectrum of innovative thinkers across diverse fields. Through an array of visual transformations and a navigation that enables multiple points of entry into the content, the audience can consider what other form this particular dance might take.

  • • The 3-year collaboration involved a group of over 30 artists, dancers, designers and scientists.
  • • The site’s received over 125,000 visitors since its launch in April 2009.
  • • There are 20 visual objects, over 40 movies and 5 generative tools that express and transform the choreographic ideas behind William Forsythe’s dance.

Comments by Norah Zuniga-Shaw and Maria Palazzi

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “Our collaborator, William Forsythe, lives overseas and it is always more difficult to work collaboratively at such great distances. To make for a productive creative process over the length of the project schedule, we structured intense working sessions when we were together geographically and then we utilized technology (Skype and wiki) to meet and share our work when we weren’t in the same place.”

Is the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? “People will access the information on the site in many ways. Designers may be drawn in by images and the abstract animations. Young dancers may find the interactive tools a playful place to start. Computer scientists interested in visualization can explore the data-driven information graphics. Others may just want to enjoy the wealth of video resources surrounding the dance. We want this to be a space of discovery.”

Did you learn anything new during the process? “Working with a large group of multidisciplinary researchers, in the arts and sciences, to create visuals related to this choreography was amazing and very rewarding. It takes much more effort to work across disciplines but the online results could only have evolved from this kind of cross-disciplinary thinking.”

Credits

tracermedia, interface designer
Michael Andereck/Hyowon Ban/Sucheta Bhatawadekar/Jane Drozd/ Joshua Fry/Matthew Lewis/Benjamin Schroeder/Lily Skove/ Mary Twohig, design team
William Forsythe/Maria Palazzi/Norah Zuniga-Shaw, creative directors
Ola Ahlqvist/Noel Cressie/Jill Johnson/Christopher Roman/Stephen Turk/ Elizabeth Waterhouse, researchers
The Forsythe Company/The Ohio State University, Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (Columbus, OH)/The Ohio State University, Department of Dance, project design and development
The Forsythe Company/The Ohio State University, clients


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