Synchronous Objects
for One Flat Thing, reproduced

From Dance, to Data, To Objects 

Archive site for Synchronous Objects


Published online in 2009, the interactive artwork-Synchronous Objects for One Flat Thing, reproduced—re-imagines the expressive possibilities of information in dance.

Created by William Forsythe, Maria Palazzi, and Norah Zuniga Shaw with more than 30 contributing researchers at the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design and The Forsythe Company, the project flows from dance, to data, to objects. The dance is One Flat Thing, reproduced (2000) by William Forsythe. The data are translations of choreographic structures in the dance. The objects are visualizations, animations, and interactive software repurposing the choreographic information in the dance through the data.

From the beginning, the project aimed to appeal to a broad public from diverse fields including but not limited to dance. Forsythe explains, “The project starts from the recognition that choreography is an organizational practice that employs fundamental creative strategies relevant to many other domains.


Synchronous Objects has attracted millions of unique visitors online as well as hundreds of thousands of repeat users from over 90 countries.

Winning numerous awards and touring internationally for over a decade, the project is featured in publications, curated exhibitions, and events across North America, Europe, and Asia most often serving as an educational resource for interdisciplinary research and creativity in diverse disciplines from dance to design, media arts, statistics, geography, architecture, and beyond.

Called "wildly creative" by the New York Times, the project's generation of data from the dance and use of interactive animation to visualize deep choreographic structures shifted the paradigm from documentation and preservation to one of interdisciplinary knowledge exchange and new expression.

Explore a list of selected resources about Synchronous Objects.

About This Site

Presented here in a new format, this site provides a partial document of the original and is offered as a resource for the many users still seeking to view and share the work.

In this site you can access videos from the original 20 objects, interface documentation, and summary videos we created for gallery exhibitions and presentations. Explanatory text and process notes are included.

After ten years online with thousands of ongoing users, the work became inaccessible December 31st, 2021 with the final demise of Flash (the software used to create the interactive interface). The interactive tools are no longer supported given changes in online security protocols. Our experience points to the ongoing problem of market driven obsolescence of necessary software and file formats for artistic and scholarly digital projects.

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The Objects

A portfolio of videos from our Synchronous Objects archive

The Dance Interface
Object 1
Alignment Annotations
Object 2
Cue Annotations
Object 3
Counterpoint Tool
Object 5
Cue Visualizer
Object 7
Movement Density
Object 11
Data Fan
Object 13
3D Alignment Forms
Object 14
Difference Marks
Object 17
Difference Forms
Object 18
Noise Void
Object 19
Motion Volumes
Object 20


Synchronous Objects creation journey

Our Team

headshot of William Forsythe

William Forsythe

Creative Director

headshot of Maria Palazzi

Maria Palazzi

Creative Director

headshot of Norah Zuniga Shaw

Norah Zuniga Shaw

Creative Director

Generative Designer: Matthew Lewis, ACCAD

Ohio State Graduate Research Associates: Beth Albright, Design | Michael Andereck, Computer Science and Engineering | Sucheta Bhatawadekar, Design | Hyowon Ban, Geography | Andrew Calhoun, Architecture | Jane Drozd, Design | Joshua Fry, Design | Melissa Quintanilha, Design | Anna Reed, Dance | Benjamin Schroeder, Computer Science | Lily Skove, Dance | Ashley Thorndike, Dance | Mary Twohig, Design.

Ohio State Faculty Researchers: Ola Ahlqvist, Department of Geography | Peter Chan, Department of Design | Noel Cressie, Department of Statistics | Stephen Turk, Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture.

Forsythe Company Dance Research Collaborators: Jill Johnson, choreographer/teacher/performer/Forsythe stager | Prue Lang, choreographer | Amy Raymond,choreographer/teacher | Christopher Roman, dancer/choreographer/ballet master | Elizabeth Waterhouse, dancer/researcher.

International Collaborators: Scott deLahunta, Research Fellow at Amsterdam School of the Arts | Patrick Haggard, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London | Alva Noë, Department of Philosophy, University of California Berkeley.

Produced by: The Forsythe Company | Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design and Department of Dance at The Ohio State University.

Acknowledgements: In addition to the project and team and our research collaborators, we would like to thank the many interdisciplinary student collaborators who have brought their thinking and creativity to the early stages of the research in courses, consortiums, workshops, and short-term assistantships. They include: Ohio State students Matthew Bain (Design/Music), Francie Buschur (Design), JulieAnna Facelli (Dance), Steven Gutierrez (Art), Iuri Lioi (Design), Tim Jacoby (Design), Fran Kalal (Design), Neelima Karanam (Computer Science Engineering), Scott Kittle (Architecture), Bernice Lee (Dance), Sara Mitchell (Dance), Noelle Stiles (Dance), Cheng Zhang (Computer Science Engineering); Tanzplan Deutschland students in attendance at the Tanzplan Biennale 2007; and Rotterdamse Dansacademie students 2007–08.

Thanks also to faculty and staff from The Ohio State University for early prototype feedback and other support including Marc Ainger (Music), Melanie Bales (Dance), Marie Cieri (Geography), James Davis (Computer Science Engineering), Candace Feck (Dance), Susan Hadley (Dance), David Huron (Music), Richard Jagacinski (Psychology), Brian Rotman (Comparative Studies), Brian Stone (Design), James Todd (Psychology), and Valerie Williams (Dance); to Jason Housh of Marketing Communications; to ACCAD faculty and staff David Bertram, Alan Price, Elaine Smith, and Brian Windsor; to Scott Marsh (Dance) for his early backing of the project; to College of the Arts Communications: Eva Dujardin Dale, Victoria Ellwood, and Pat Riechel; and to Ann Bremner and Ryan Shafer for patient and skillful editing.

Thanks are due to Dorsey Bushnell, Dr. Vera Battis-Reese, Mechthild Ruehl, Julian Gabriel Richter and the entire Forsythe Company staff for their support; to Rebecca Groves for her collaboration and early inspiration; to Prue Lang and Amy Raymond for their vision and feedback; and to the following Forsythe Company dancers for contributing their oral histories of One Flat Thing, reproduced: Yoko Ando, Cyril Baldy, Francesca Caroti, Dana Caspersen, Amancio Gonzalez, Thierry Guiderdoni, Marthe Krummenacher, Prue Lang, Ioannis Mantafounis, Fabrice Mazliah, Roberta Mosca, George Reischl, Jone San Martin, Ander Zabala.

Special thanks to the Chair of Ohio State’s Department of Dance, Susan Petry; Ohio State Associate Vice President, The Arts Initiative, Karen A. Bell; and to The Ohio State University President, Dr. E. Gordon Gee.