Digital Vocabulary

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Performance of Digital Vo//bulary, by the Driven Arts Collective, as part of KhĂ´ra, a Dance in Digital and Physical Space, filmed at SAFEHouse Arts in San Francisco on Apr 28 2019.

Choreography: Varsha Iyengar
Music: Michael Krzyzaniak
Artistic Director: Anna Rebecca Harris
Additional Choreography: Lauren Bedal and Jen Gerry

Dancers: Sawako Gannon, Jen Gerry, Kai Abriol, Varsha Iyengar

Digital Vo//bulary is an iteration of an ongoing artistic collaboration between Varsha Iyengar and Michael Krzyzaniak. Born of the idea that interaction with digital interfaces limits physical expression, this piece 'loads' dancers into a digital-physical playground in which every moment of the wake-sleep cycle is monitored and influenced by digital devices, which the dancers - as subjects of observation and motion sensor input for the soundscape - periodically break free from, only to return to in perpetuity.

Hollow Roots Metallic Wind

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Hollow Roots Metallic Wind is a dance performance by Michelle Migliaccio (Dancer / Choreographer) and Michael Krzyzaniak (Composer). It was performed at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts and the X-perimental Art Night at NueBox in Phoenix Arizona. The music involved a musical robot sculpture of an organ pipe cactus, and computer-generated sounds.
Image of Michelle


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Recombinant is a dance work by By Grisha Coleman, Michael Krzyzaniak and Kiki at Arizona State University's School of Arts, Media + Engineering. Performed at Jack in Brooklyn on October 16 and 17, 2015 as part of the Duke University/SLIPPAGE afroFUTUREqu##r event, curated by Thomas F. DeFrantz and niv Acosta. N.B. This is the full audio performance overlaid with a still image.


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Align55 is a responsive dance environment I made with Julie Akerly, Varsha Iyengar, and Cooper Yoo. Props also to Prashanth Seshasayee for assisting with programming. The piece explores time and temporality, and depicts different ways of measuring time, such as electrons changing their orbital state, and pendulums. The dancers are wearing sensors and the degree of similarity of their movement is measured using some techniques that we describe here. The sound and visuals move in and out of rhythmic focus according to this information. This represents the ways that we experience time, and how that might be influenced by the technology we use to measure it. Align55 was premiered at the New Earth Music Hall in Athens Georgia as part of the Athens Slingshot Festival on March 28 2015.


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Vertigo is a dance piece that grew out of my collaboration with Julie Akerly on Separation, Short Range Repulsion. It formed a core part of her MFA thesis. The written part describes the piece in detail and is published here. Below is a video of a complete performance at the Digital Culture Gallery on the campus of Arizona State University. The dancers are Brent Brimhall, See Cha, Angel Crissman, Eleanor Hanafin, and Denise Stein. I wrote the music, which also makes use of the Armenian song 'Shushi' by Madlen Asaturian, sung by Ludmila Grigorian (which I harmonized with singing speech synthesizers at the end). All other audio synthesizers were written in ANSI C by me, including the speech synth. I also built wireless accelerometer modules which are worn by the dancers and used to control the audio during certain sections. Fun fact: I made a pumpkin pie (using a real pumpkin) for the cast, and was famously sitting backstage eating it during the performance.


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Separation: Short Range Repulsion is a responsive dance piece written by Julie Akerly, Michael Krzyzaniak, Muharrem Yildirim, and Matthew Mosher. We wrote a paper explaining it in detail.

In our society, an individual's deviation from conventional social behaviour is both romanticized as a form of creative expression yet often quashed as a threat or annoyance. Separation: short range repulsion uses dance and reactive electronic noise to explore the dichotomous gradient between society's encouragement and rejection of social deviation. Dancers improvise synchronized flocking behaviour on stage. Because the dance is improvised, and there is no established leader, the dancers must continually examine each other for behavioural cues in order to maintain synchronicity. This arrangement is conceptually similar to the the Asch conformity experiments. A camera and computer vision software are used to analyze the flock's behavior, and measure its performance in real time. This information is used to control electronic noises and lighting. The noises and are inspired by sirens, and can have their timbre and texture varied continuously between simple / soothing and disorienting / threatening. These noises serve as social interpretations of individual dancers' deviation, or lack thereof, from the behavioural norms established by the flock. Eventually, as the norms grow in complexity, or as is dictated by the individuals' volition, the flock will fall apart. Once the software detects that this has happened, it will intervene, and use lighting cues to reestablish order amongst the dancers. The title is a reference to Craig Reynolds' original 'rules' of flocking behaviour.

Here is a video of one complete performance at the New Earth Music Hall during the Slingshot Festival in Athens, Georgia. I wrote the music. The dancers are Julie Akerly, Eleanor Hanafin, and Denise Stein.


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Avery Draut Dancing - Photography by Amanda Carlock
Avery Draut - Photography by Amanda Carlock
ORB is an interactive dance composition by Michael Krzyzaniak. In this piece, a dancer holds two glowing orbs of different colors. Two cameras, one overhead and one to the side, track the position of the orbs in a cylindrical coordinate system. The height of an orb, its distance from the dancer's body, and the direction of the dancer's arm each control a different set of paramaters of sound that is generated in real-time. One orb controls sound synthesized from people talking, and the other from people singing.

ORB was premiered in the "regex" exhibit at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in the summer of 2012, with Avery Draut dancing. Click the image below to see a short video clip taken from the two hour installation.

There was another musical piece running in the room next-door, which can be heard in the background. ORB's sound-world was designed with this in mind: It created a sort of disruptive friction that made stepping into ORB feel like stepping off the edge of the cosmos. Click the image below to hear a pristine version of ORB's sound world by itself.
The dancer is scarcely visible in the above video due to low lighting. Nonetheless, she was visible to the naked eye, and her ethereal movements added to the other-worldly feeling of the piece. Here are some screenshots from a video of her dancing in better light:
Avery Draut Dancing - Screenshot of Premiere Avery Draut Dancing - Screenshot of Premiere Avery Draut Dancing - Screenshot of Premiere
Below are more images from the performance.
Avery Draut Dancing - Photography by Eric Marty
Avery Draut Dancing - Photography by Eric Marty