Symbiosis: a biological taxonomy for modes of interaction in dance-music collaborations
Focusing on interactive performance works borne out of dancer-musician collaborations, this paper investigates the relationship between the mediums of sound and movement through a conceptual interpretation of the biological phenomenon of symbiosis. Describing the close and persistent interactions between organisms of different species, symbioses manifest across a spectrum of relationship types, each identified according to the health effect experienced by the engaged organisms. This biological taxonomy is appropriated within a framework which identifies specific modes of interaction between sound and movement according to the collaborating practitioners' intended outcome, and required provisions, cognition of affect, and system operation. Using the symbiotic framework as an analytical tool, six dancer-musician collaborations from the field of NIME are examined in respect to the employed modes of interaction within each of the four examined areas. The findings reveal the emergence of multiple modes in each work, as well as examples of mutation between different modes over the course of a performance. Furthermore, the symbiotic concept provides a novel understanding of the ways gesture recognition technologies (GRTs) have redefined the relationship dynamics between dancers and musicians, and suggests a more efficient and inclusive approach in communicating the potential and limitations presented by Human-Computer Interaction tools.