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Susan Wiesner: "Representing Conflict through Dance: Employing Motion-Capture Technology to Analyze Dance"

STEAM Salon

Date: Thursday, April 12th, 11:00a.m.

Location: STEM Library, Math (Kirwan) Building

In order to automatically recognise and identify semantic, abstract, movement in 2D film, it is necessary to acknowledge the complexities of communication through motion. To that end the ARTeFACT project (2007-present) generated quantitative data of verbal and non-verbal instances of metaphoric terms associated with Conflict (e.g. Victim, Attack, Struggle, etc.). We used the works of seven renowned choreographers that are noted by the choreographers and dance writers as being ‘about’ conflict, then employed motion capture technologies and statistical methods to analyse movements and written texts about the dances in an effort to develop rules/models (training examples) for machine learning. We then validated the training rules/models through a series of project phases and tests involving machines and ‘manual’ observation (using Laban Movement Analysis).

As Digital Humanist in Special Collections in the Performing Arts, University of Maryland Libraries, Dr. Susan Wiesner works with intersections of language and movement in an attempt to develop automated tagging of movement in dance film. She is an alumna of Goucher College, earned her MA and PhD from the University of Surrey, in England, and received her Certification in Movement Analysis from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movements Studies (LIMS). As a CLIR postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, she managed digital projects in the libraries and lectured in dance theory and research methods. She was awarded an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship in 2011 to pursue research into movements representative of conceptual metaphor using motion capture technologies as part of the ARTeFACT project, about which she has published several articles. Dr. Wiesner has conducted research into metadata and the development of ontologies for the performing arts using Digital Humanities methodologies, has developed a database of dance publications, and is the Resources for College Libraries subject editor for dance. A choreographer and dancer, Dr. Wiesner has presented her work in the both the US and the UK and is the Executive/Artistic Director for Range of Motion Dance in Charlottesville Virginia, a company of adult dancers with special needs which is dedicated to the belief that all people can dance. 

Susan Wiesner

Susan Wiesner