Choreographer, designer, and engineer: Lawson is a transdisciplinary artist making work that imagines new kinds of experience, reinterprets traditional stories, and questions cultural assumptions. Her performing-arts career began in music before serendipity brought her to dance, where she found a discipline combining her lifelong loves of athleticism and art. Featuring synthesistic mythology, athletic partnering, and nuanced emotional relationships, their work includes both traditional choreography for both disabled and nondisabled artists and novel ways of extending and creating art through technology and design. Lawson began her dance career with Full Radius Dance in 2004. She is an artist and Access and Technology Lead with Kinetic Light, the internationally acclaimed disability-arts organization; cofounder and CEO of CyCore Systems, a boutique systems and product engineering firm; and the Director of Rose Tree Productions, where she choreographs transdisciplinary art and supports equity-centered arts work. Her newest project is The Choreodaemonic Platform, in collaboration with Sydney Skybetter.
The Choreodaemonic Platform
The Choreodaemonic Collective, led by choreographer-technologists Laurel Lawson and Sydney Skybetter, is a multidisciplinary collaboration investigating interdependence, tech, and nature.More
Sydney Skybetter is a choreographer. He is the Deputy Dean of the College at Brown University, and the founder of the Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces.Artist Bio
Choreographer and artist-engineer: Lawson is a transdisciplinary artist whose work includes both traditional choreography and novel ways of extending and creating art through technology and design.Artist Bio
Choreographic practice is historically a genealogy of emerging technologies. Since the 17th century, Western dance has been shaped by tools designed by engineers, choreographers, composers, and performers. The proscenium, pointe shoes, fireproofing, curtains, musical and dance notation, speakers and stage mechanics were all, at one point, emerging performance technologies that through iteration, over centuries, became what is contemporarily understood as “dance performance.” The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the norms of live performance, and previously stable modes of engagement (ie. gathering people in a theater to stage a time- and space-delimited performance) are at odds with social-distancing protocols and social well-being. Given this flux of technologies, creative practice, and audienceship, what does it mean to engage in choreographic performance research right now? Choreographic researchers Laurel Lawson and Sydney Skybetter propose the creation of The Choreodaemonic Platform, a flexible and modular system that supports the creation of technologically innovative work and which will support a new, computationally intensive installation to explore emergent technological phenomena in pursuit of novel dancerly effects. It will use the choreography of both humans and artificial intelligence to tangle with the adversarial and symbiotic relationships created by human action, deliberate and not, in the surrounding environment, art, and technologies used to create it. As a piece of new-media performance installation art, The Choreodaemonic Platform invites audiences to consider the deliberate, inevitable, and unpredictable ways we shape the world around us and are ourselves shaped in turn. Dance grounds this work as a means of expression, with performers and audience members engaging with emergent, interactive technologies including robots, AI, spatial sound, kinesthetic-haptics, and more.
The Choreodaemonic Collective
The Choreodaemonic Collective is a new collaboration led by choreographers Laurel Lawson and Sydney Skybetter. Lawson is a transdisciplinary artist-engineer whose work imagines new kinds of experience, including traditional choreography for disabled and nondisabled artists, as well as novel ways of extending and creating art through technology and design. Lawson understands disability and access as aesthetic perspectives, leveraging user-experience design to create impactful immersive experiences. Skybetter has been hailed as being among “the world’s foremost thinkers on the intersection of dance and emerging technologies” (Financial Times), and his choreography has been performed at venues including the Kennedy Center and Jacob’s Pillow. A Senior Lecturer of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies and Deputy Dean of the College at Brown University, Skybetter is an affiliated researcher of Harvard University’s metaLAB and Cornell University’s Dark Laboratory. He contributes to WIRED and Dance Magazine, is a founding member of the Guild of Future Architects and the founder of the Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces. Drawn together over the pandemic years through shared conversation and wild thinking, this partnership uses choreography and technology to investigate the boundaries of the individual, collective, and environment. The Collective is imagined as a broad multidisciplinary coalition, creating partnerships across fields, specializations, and institutions. Leaders in fields including dance, movement organizing, AI, robotics, embedded systems, infrastructure, ethics, and psychology are called to gather in national and regional partnerships and in core or modular roles, across institutional and individual lines.
Sydney Skybetter is a choreographer. Hailed by the Financial Times as “one of the world’s foremost thinkers on the intersection of dance and emerging technologies,” Skybetter’s choreography has been performed at such venues as the Kennedy Center, Jacob’s Pillow, and the Joyce Theater. A sought-after speaker, he has lectured at SXSW, Yale University, Mozilla, and Stanford University, and served as an advisor for the National Ballet of Canada, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Hasbro, New York University, and the University of Southern California, among others. He is a Senior Affiliate of metaLAB at Harvard University and a member of the Dark Laboratory at Cornell University, as well as a regular contributor to WIRED and Dance Magazine. He is the Deputy Dean of the College for Curriculum and Co-Curriculum at Brown University, where he stewards the College’s policies and programs related to the undergraduate curriculum, and manages the academic deans and professional staff who support College programs, including the Brown-RISD Dual Degree program, Curricular Resource Center, and cocurricular programing. He has served as a grant panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts, is a founding member of the Guild of Future Architects, and is the founder of the Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces.
Photo by Liza Voll Photography.