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Hacking choreography: dance and live coding
Sicchio K.  Computer Music Journal 38 (1): 31-39, 2014. Type: Article
Date Reviewed: May 5 2015

“What happens when algorithmic instructions are produced and given to dancers in real time and allow choreography to be created in front of an audience?” asks Sicchio (page 32). And what happens when hacker culture is incorporated into the mix?

In live coding, the writing of code and its execution become a creative performance. Although live coding is typically associated with producing music in real time, Sicchio broadens the creative focus to incorporate physical movement and dance through improvised choreography. Building on previous work on algorithmic approaches to choreography and “live scoring” (real-time construction of choreographic instructions), Sicchio presents her practice-based research on computational approaches to improvised choreography under the common banner of “hacking choreography.”

The choreographic instructions resemble pseudocode and, unlike traditional choreography but like live coding, are sometimes projected as part of the performance. Sicchio focuses on how performances can be “hacked” to mimic the subversive circumventions and repurposing associated with computer hacking. She describes several methods of hacking choreography, including performer reinterpretation/ignoring of instructions, introduction of new instructions mid-performance, and (most intriguingly) employing feedback loops incorporating performer movement and sound projection, when the performer is working alongside sound.

Although Sicchio assumes basic knowledge of choreographic terms and live coding, this is a fascinating read for anyone interested in coding as a performance or creative work. The paper is particularly timely in the context of the recently funded AHRC Live Code Research Network [1] of which Sicchio is a steering committee member.

Reviewer:  Anna Jordanous Review #: CR143411 (1509-0825)
1) Live Code Research Network, (04/08/2015).
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