Digital Umbilical

Project: Digital Umbilical
Partners: Body Intelligence Collective,
Sadlers Wells, Dansathon 2019.

Salomé Bazin from Cellule Studio has worked with the Body Intelligence Collective to develop Digital Umbilical: a poetic-technologic experience merging science, technology and contemporary dance.

Digital umbilical is a powerful and unique experience allowing people to connect and reconnect with each other. Eye to eye, heartbeat to heartbeat, breath to breath.

The project was a commission from Dansathon 2018 and Sadler’s Wells London.

Year

2019

Sector

Contemporary dance

Discipline

Interaction design
Bio-data
Technology research
Performance
Scenography
Communication

Ethos

Aesthetic
Interactive
Minimalism
Biomimetism
Engagement
Humane tech

“How do we connect to others in the age of digital connection?”

Despite living in a period of ‘high connection’, our society is experiencing increased feelings of loneliness affecting people in all social groups independent of their wealth or status. How do we truly connect to others in the age of machines and digital connection? How can we use technology to deepen the connection to our body and to enhance intimacy between a performer and an audience?

Repurposing technological tools of bio-data control and measurement, Digital Umbilical wants to reclaim the poetic, rhythmic and creative aspect of bio-rhythms and body cycles, enabling audiences to reconnect to their bodies.

“This dance performance
explores the amplification
of empathy with bio-signals.”

This dance performance explores the connection between individuals (dancer and performer), and its amplification through the use of technology.

A responsive interactive system with sensors feedback in real time bio-data from both audience members and performers,
controlling the soundscape and lighting environment. This gives audiences a unique experience of dance and a rare insight into their own uncontrollable physiological reactions.

“We wanted
participants to
reconnect to their body and physiology.”

At a time where we rising political division along simplified categorizations and artificial boundaries amongst humans,
we believe it is critical to get audiences and participants to reconnect to the universality of our body, and experiences we have all shared as human beings.

Concept and realisation by Body Intelligence Collective. Design and scenography by Cellule studio.

Concept and realisation by Body Intelligence Collective.

Creative technologist: Simon Haenggi
Choreographer: Renaud Wiser
Designer: Salomé Bazin
Producer: Lara Buffard
Programmer: Jon Rowe
Performer: Adam Seid Tahir
Performer: Rosanne Briens
Composer: Arthur Astier
Photography: Maria Lax
Video: Laurent Liotardo

The creation of Digital Umbilical was made possible with the generous support of Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants, Fondation BNP Paribas and Sadler’s Wells to the Body Intelligence Collective.

Body Technology

Interactive Architecture

Inclusive Design

By ‘body technology’, we encompass two notions: embodied computing and cognitive science, which have been interlacing in our projects.
Body centered technologies point to hybrid bodies and blurr boundaries between human, computer and artificial platforms. Such technologies promise to reconfigure the relationship between bodies and their environment, enabling new kinds of physiological interfacing. The latter is the science of cognition: how the human brain thinks, learns, organises itself. It seeks to understand the principles of intelligence and behaviour, individually and collectively.
Computer/human collaboration is an emerging trend in science as well as artistic disciplines (dance, music, performance).

Interactive architecture is the art/science of creating spaces and buildings that interact with their visitors. By incorporating sensors, processors and effectors in the core of the architecture,we can create intelligent spaces that acquire the ability to gather information from the physical space, understand it and act in consequence on it. This allows architects to create a real-time, personalised interaction between a space and its visitors – between a smart object and a smart subject. For us designers, they become a vector for interactive art. We aim to create ‘spaces’ that respond to our presence and help us understand complex notions of the physical and natural world that we are constantly interacting with.

In our design practice, we aim to design for the uniqueness and diversity of each individual, keeping in mind everybody’s different abilities, needs and desires. We keep our design processes close to the end users and involve them in the decisions we make. We try to understand people’s differences to create better products, services and environments for everyone. We believe that learning from diversity enhances our creativity, and improves our work as designers and people.
Inclusive design means that a product, service or environment is designed with the knowledge and expertise of users who are ‘experts’ of their situations and can prioritize needs. A collaborative design process allows to mobilise a wider range of information, ideas and insights to address a broader social challenge and prevents major errors that could occur from a design-engineer centric approach.

Body Technology

By ‘body technology’, we encompass two notions: embodied computing and cognitive science, which have been interlacing in our projects.
Body centered technologies point to hybrid bodies and blurr boundaries between human, computer and artificial platforms. Such technologies promise to reconfigure the relationship between bodies and their environment, enabling new kinds of physiological interfacing. The latter is the science of cognition: how the human brain thinks, learns, organises itself. It seeks to understand the principles of intelligence and behaviour, individually and collectively.
Computer/human collaboration is an emerging trend in science as well as artistic disciplines (dance, music, performance).

Interactive Architecture

Interactive architecture is the art/science of creating spaces and buildings that interact with their visitors. By incorporating sensors, processors and effectors in the core of the architecture,we can create intelligent spaces that acquire the ability to gather information from the physical space, understand it and act in consequence on it. This allows architects to create a real-time, personalised interaction between a space and its visitors – between a smart object and a smart subject. For us designers, they become a vector for interactive art. We aim to create ‘spaces’ that respond to our presence and help us understand complex notions of the physical and natural world that we are constantly interacting with.

Inclusive Design

In our design practice, we aim to design for the uniqueness and diversity of each individual, keeping in mind everybody’s different abilities, needs and desires. We keep our design processes close to the end users and involve them in the decisions we make. We try to understand people’s differences to create better products, services and environments for everyone. We believe that learning from diversity enhances our creativity, and improves our work as designers and people.
Inclusive design means that a product, service or environment is designed with the knowledge and expertise of users who are ‘experts’ of their situations and can prioritize needs. A collaborative design process allows to mobilise a wider range of information, ideas and insights to address a broader social challenge and prevents major errors that could occur from a design-engineer centric approach.