Review Of "Moving Without A Body" By S. Portanova

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Portanova's first book is a dense, ambitious investigation of encounters among various dance choreographies, technologies, computer programs, and philosophical concepts. Portanova (independent scholar) attempts to create "a speculative proposition for a philosophy of movement in the digital age" by developing three trajectories. First, she traces advances in audiovisual tools (especially the shift from analog to digital) and ways this progress influenced ideas regarding movement in space and time. Second, she offers choreographic examples to illustrate these developments. Finally, she presents some philosophical concepts to analyze and align with the choreographic examples. The heart of the book is the philosophical discussions based on the theories of Gilles Deleuze and Alfred North Whitehead. Portanova links their theories to examinations of dances and processes developed by three American choreographers. Her illustrations begin with collaborations between Loie Fuller and the Lumière brothers (1892), include several iterations of an alliance between William Forsythe and the Advanced Computing Center for Arts and Design at Ohio State (2009), and cover a project linking Merce Cunningham with the OpenEndedGroup (Marc Downie, Shelley Eshkar, Paul Kaiser) between 2001 and 2011. This book will be most useful for readers with knowledge of philosophy, mathematics, and computer science. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.


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