Dance of the Fulcrum 2.0 is a multisensory social installation, intended to promote interpersonal cooperation through incentivized movement and dance. The installation, designed for two primary users at a time, consists of a physical computing system that features spatial tracking and immersive visual, auditory, and haptic sensory feedback. From the tracking data between the two users, the system measures for proximity (to gauge social engagement), mirroring/symmetry of movement (to gauge attentiveness), and rate of change of movement (to gauge risk and play). Given these parameters, the system can then encourage and steer these behaviors by creating more interesting sensory feedback: enveloped, noticeable modulations to the multisensory elements. In this way, this installation serves as a friendship machine, rewarding pro-social behaviors.
The multisensory feedback encompasses visual and musical parameters—both auditory and haptic. Changes in interpersonal behavior impact changes in a virtual environment, projected behind each of the participants, within their respective lines of view. The behavioral parameters also impact music, including electronics with a voice and piano composition (“The Dance of the Fulcrum” by Alexis Story Crawshaw), with original lyrics in ancient Greek. Different elements of this musical work are routed to loudspeakers for auditory listening, and other elements are routed to a sonic haptic floor for somatic immersion.
On the theoretical side, this project serves as an example of computational paideia, after the ancient Greek notion of education, which entailed cultural learning through the creation and experience of art. This project examines the capacity of cybernetic digital systems to cultivate learning and the development of values—specifically here, creative sociability—also exploring the application of theories related to mediated action, situated cognition (regarding embodiment, culture, and environment), and conceptual structure.
Ό ΤΉΣ ΑΠΟΣΤΗΡΙΞΕΩΣ ΟΡΧΗΘΜΟΣ́ | THE DANCE OF THE FULCRUM
ALEXIS STORY CRAWSHAW
Original ancient Greek lyrics with word-for-word English translation (not adjusting for grammatical oddities)
Πρός τή οδώ όπου αι τ’άνθων ξανθοφαών έλικηδαι γεωμετρίαι έκ τής άσφαλτου συνεξάνθουσαι πάρεισιν
By the road where (of golden-gleaming blossoms) helical geometries out of the asphalt break out together all about
Καί ή χαμαίβατος προσαιθρίζεται ίνα τόν μάραθον απακονά καί ό μάραθος γλυκός τό βάτον κάμπτει·
And the blackberry [ground-berry] sending fennel into the air sharpens it and the sweet fennel (acting upon) the berry bends it (in turn),
Αυτή ό Ήλιος Πανόπτης Άργον αγασάμενος, ό δέ πανόπτης κατατηξάμενος πρός τόν πόντον ερρύη καί υπερεξέτεινεν
Here, Helios/Sun the All-Seer (at) Argos admiring, and the (other) All-Seer [Argos] melting under (his gaze) becoming a river slowly and overwhelmed in bliss,
αί δέ εκατόν θυρίδες μιτορραφείς αργύφεαι πυριμάρμαραι διεξήναντο καί ό κυανομαρμαρωπός τήν ελάαν άπεβροχεν·
And his hundred windows, composed of threads, silver-shining sparkling-like-fire separate, and (this) blue sparkling eye (acting upon) the olive tree swallows it
καί ή ελάα χαμαισχιδής ουρανίζουσα
And the olive tree branching from the ground upward reaches to the skies
τήν τε παραντίχειρα καί τόν αντιδάκτυλον αμφία αγκύλω επεκτείνε ίνα τώ τού πόντου κόρακε ζυγοσταθμά
The forefinger and the thumb on both sides wrist-bending stretches open, here, for two cormorants, balancing
ίνα τώ τού πόντου κόρακε ζυγοσταθμά
ώ τοίσπερ ισθμοίς διαλυγίζουσι καί διαλέγουσιν
Their two necks twist and discourse
τά πτερά διευτρεπίζουσι ίνα αναπτεροφορώναι καί μολπάρχουσιν
Their wings preparing here for flight and for conducting the song-dance.