Quotes from the Project Team


Quotes from Ohio State University Creative Directors

Maria Palazzi, Department of Design/ACCAD
Disciplinary perspectives provide each of us with a unique way into One Flat Thing, reproduced. In Synchronous Objects, we have crafted a group of objects that reflect, not only our own disciplinary influences, but which also manifest in their current form because of the disciplinary cross-pollination we have experienced while working together on this project. The objects are a way of sharing these unique perspectives with our audience and asking them to consider what they see in the dance.

As a person trained in the visual arts, I questioned why I shouldn't also understand what I see when I look at dance? When Bill explained his methodology for designing the choreography in One Flat Thing, reproduced, I felt an instant connection to his organizational principles, his use of spatial geometry, his creation of visual complexity, because they were deeply related to ideas from the visual arts and animation. Suddenly I was released from looking for a "linear story" and instead could enjoy dance as a complex moving composition.

Norah Zuniga Shaw, Department of Dance/ACCAD
Our aim is to provide new perspectives on dance as a field of activity and creative inquiry that will engage a wide spectrum of innovative thinkers across diverse fields of research and practice.

Though Forsythe’s One Flat Thing, reproduced piece holds vast stores of information in its concrete patterns and temporal design, it is also a “choreographic resource,” a phenomenon that can be interpreted more expansively in relation to contemporary concerns in architecture, information aesthetics, philosophy, computer science and other fields. The use of One Flat Thing, reproduced as a research resource is not about repertory or reconstruction. It’s about representing the complex choreographic structures created by Forsythe in ways that generate new creativity.


Quotes from selected Ohio State University Research Team Members

Ola Ahlqvist, assistant professor, Department of Geography
What intrigues me most is how much similarity there is between choreography and daily life as a spatial phenomenon. In geography we study spatial phenomena a lot. There are some rules and interaction, but also a fair amount of improvisation in both ‘”worlds.” My biggest surprise in this collaborative research was how familiar I felt with some of the things that choreography and this particular dance contain.

Hyowon Ban, graduate student, Department of Geography
Before this project, I saw dance as a single unit of art performance. Now I see many components, organizations, structures, and relationships within dance. Working with research advisors in geography and statistics, we worked with the data from the dance to explore geographic applications, experiment with spatial analysis, geo-visualization, and statistical analysis. My work on this project has been the subject of my dissertation.

Sucheta Bhatawadekar, graduate student, Department of Industrial, Interior,
and Visual Communications Design

Working on Synchronous Objects project has changed my way of looking at complexity. Rather than getting intimidated by it, I try to identify patterns and break it down into smaller elements that might help in understanding the overall structure. In the beginning we did a significant amount of research to understand the history and evolution of William Forsythe's work and philosophy. With guidance from the members of the Forsythe Company and from William Forsythe, we analyzed the dance numerous times from various perspectives to identify and narrow down the structural elements that needed to be communicated. Then we created a set of experimental animations to visualize these structural elements. This phase can be compared to the pre-visualization stage in animation where the animator does various tests to essentially brainstorm and derive the best technique.

Noel Cressie, Director of the Program in Spatial Statistics and Environmental Statistics
and Professor of Statistics.

My goal in joining this interdisciplinary effort was to show different “statistical views” of a complex dance piece involving 17 dancers. The tools we are using would also be useful to teach some of the fundamentals of statistics. As a scientist, I’ve always believed that science can be artistic. This is an exciting project, because I’m working with artists who believe that art can be scientific.

Matthew Lewis, Graphics Researcher, Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design
The ideas introduced by this project could be useful in my own field of computer science and graphics research by providing new ways of seeing, communicating, and evaluating relationships among elements in other complex dynamic systems. The project demonstrates that such new visual relationships, along with the choreography of attention, both change and control what can be perceived. Our design process emphasized continuous inquiry, as opposed to arriving at a single correct solution. It brought active awareness to processes of reduction and synthesis. The framework also provided an effective model for collaboration between designers, artists, and scientists.

Benjamin Schroeder, graduate student, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
I gained a great appreciation for what one might call the formal beauty of dance—the mathematical structures behind the interplay of the dancers and the geometry of motion. I found practical applications in procedural graphic systems where the interest is creating complexity out of simple building blocks.

Lillian Skove, graduate student, Department of Dance
Working on this project has given me courage to pursue the interconnections between many fields. Synchronous Objects demonstrates how choreography is a repository of knowledge that other fields can draw on to reach new understanding and connections across many different fields.

Steven Turk, associate professor, Knowlton School of Architecture
Architects are interested in Forsythe’s choreography for many reasons, but his work seems to offer a kind of case study through which we can understand problems in our own discipline. The great thing about Synchronous Objects is that it reveals the organizing structures of this incredible work [One Flat Thing, reproduced], making them visible as a spark for new ideas. We are using the website as a teaching tool in our curriculum.

Cross-disciplinary projects like Synchronous Objects are valuable in that they reveal the salient characteristics of the various areas of human knowledge and expression - the seeming closeness and yet distinct differences between various modes of, in this case, aesthetic understanding. This serves to heighten the understanding of one’s own practice and area of expertise.