Oskar Schlemmer

The Triadic Ballet 

Schlemmer began running the Theatre Workshop at the Bauhaus in 1923. Schlemmer created the costumes and then choreographed the dancers moments. The Choreography  was created bearing in mind the restrictions the costumes created, and the movements they suggested. The ballet was taken on tour to promote the Bauhaus.

Franz Schömbs’ and Georg Verden’s reconstruction of the ballet in 1968:


(See also: http://www.nytimes.com/1985/10/03/arts/dance-triadic-ballet-a-la-bauhaus.html)

Slat Dance 1 – 1927

Lisa le Feuvre on Slat dance 1:

Slat Dance 1 from 1927 used equipment designed for physical education to lengthen the dancer’s limbs. Just as 18th and 19th century ‘progress’ compelled people to conform movements to the rhythm of the factory, Schlemmer’s constricting additions forced their wearers to empathise with their own mechanics.

Taken from: Extending Bodies, Tate Etc, Issue 36 Spring 2016, PP64 



Rebecca Horn

Body Sculpture

(See: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/rebecca-horn-2269)

(Further Reading: The Glance of Infinity Hardcover – September, 1997, ISBN: 3931141667) ( Text below images taken from here)

Mechanical Body Fan, 1973

The fan fits the proportions and measurements of my body. I carry and balance it on my shoulders. Head and shoulders are its centre, the axis of all its circular movements. The two hales of the fan meet to close as a circle above my head. By shifting the balance of my body, both semi circles change their horizontal position and start to rotate. One half turns in front of my body, the other behind me. My body the fixed axis for the movement of the two halves of the fan. Through the slow rotation of the two fan sections, different parts of my body are revealed or hidden. IF i constantly change the angle of rotation, the rotatory speed is increased to such a degree that the fans from a transparent circle. RH – 1973

Finger Gloves, 1972

The material of the finger gloves is so light that i can move them without any effort at all. I can feel, touch and grasp with them, yet maintain a particular distance from the objects I am touching. The lever-action of the extended fingers intensifies my hand’s tactile sensation. I can feel myself touching things, see how i grasp and control any chosen distance between myself and the objects. RH – 1972

Feather Fingers, 1972

The fingers of my right hand are covered and extended by single goose feathers; one feather is attached to each finger with a metal ring. As a living object, the entire feather hand is as symmetrical (and as sensitive) as a bird’s wing. I touch my bare left hand with my feather-dressed right hand, start to touch it and stroke it and carefully examine this new experience. It is as if on hand had suddenly become disconnected from the other, like two utterly unrelated beings. My sense of touch becomes so disrupted that the different behaviour of each hand triggers contradictory sensations. RH – 1972

Arm Extensions, 1968

From her chest to her feet she is wrapped in criss-crossing bandages like a mummy. All movement becomes impossible. Both arms are imbedded in thickly wadded stumps, which serve as balancing props for her body. After being tied up for a while, the subjects gains the impression that, in spite of her erect posture, her arms are gradually touching the ground, as if they were actually growing into the floor and turning into “isolating columns” fixed to her own body. RH – 1968

Pencil Mask, 1972

Nine Straps are tied around my head, three vertically, six horizontally. A pencil is attached at each point where the straps cross. All Pencils are about two inches long and reproduce the profile of my face in three dimension. I move my body rhythmically to and fro in front of a white wall. The pencils make marks on the wall; their image corresponds to the rhythm of my moments. RH – 1972

Hillel Schwartz

Torque The New Kinaesthetic of the 20th Century 

The essay gives insight in to how the modern world has affected our movement. It also has a very informative section on prosthetics.

Here is the link to the essay: https://www.academia.edu/7824435/Torque_The_New_Kinaesthetic_of_the_20th_Century_

See: Zone: Incorporations v. 6 (Zone 6) ISBN: 978-0942299298

Mona Hatoum

Roadworks Performance, 1985

Mona Hatoum, Roadworks (actions de rue), 1985. Vidéo, couleur, son. 6&rsquo;45&ldquo;. Collection Nouveaux médias du Mamvp<br><br>Courtesy Musée national d&rsquo;art moderne © Mona Hatoum

Performance Still, 1995 

Throughout the first half of the decade of the eighties, Hatoum carried out a series of controversial performances brimming with political content. This piece was produced within this framework, in 1985, on the streets of Brixton, a predominantly black working class neighbourhood, located in the outskirts of London. Hatoum carried out two performances pertaining to an action organised by another artist Stefan Szczelkun entitled ‘Roadworks’, in which the intention was to create a relationship between a specific group of artists intervening in an impoverished community. In this way, these artists would produce their work in an environment and for an audience very different that that customarily visiting museums and galleries.

Hatoum is portrayed in the photogaph barefoot and strolling along the neighbourhood streets with a pair of heavy Doc Marten’s boots tied to her ankles. Her feet appear naked and vulnerable compared to the sturdy boots traditionally worn by the police or by skinheads. The artist presents herself as an impoverished person who questions the system, trying to make manifest its structural mechanism through an action in which even the basic act of walking becomes difficult.

video excerpt found here (text also taken from): http://www.li-ma.nl/site/catalogue/art/mona-hatoum/roadworks/8990#

Do you play the spine? Introducing prosthetic musical instruments

Researchers have developed a series of interactive wearable instruments that respond to bodily gestures

Watching accomplished musicians in action, it can often seem that their instruments are natural extensions of their bodies – as if that violin had grown from their collar bone, or the intestinal loops of that tuba had burst out of their ample gut.

A team of researchers at McGill University’s Input Devices and Music Interaction Lab have taken that idea one step further, by developing a series of prosthetic musical instruments that sprout directly from the bodies of performers like futuristic new limbs.

“We think instruments are less about the objects themselves than the bodily gestures they invite,” says PhD researcher Ian Hattwick, who has worked on the project for the last three years with colleague Joseph Malloch. “We’re taking that idea all the way, making instruments that are literally all about the performers’ movement.”

The prosthetic spine is fitted with motion sensors along its length.
The prosthetic spine is fitted with motion sensors along its length. Photograph: Vanessa Yaremchuk

Glowing with a ghostly white light, a translucent spine erupts from the back of one performer, rippling as she writhes across the floor to manipulate an eerie synthesised sound. Another performer wrenches the spine from her back and begins to caress it, as if fondling a pet snake, transforming the otherworldly soundtrack as her fingers dance along the vertebrae.

“We wanted to blur the boundary of when an instrument is an object and when it is part of the body,” says Malloch. “Wearing these objects, the performers have to learn new gestures and modify their own gestures accordingly. If you had an external spine, you would move very differently.”

Using digital manufacturing techniques, including laser cutting and 3D-printing, the team has developed spines, rib cages and visors, each of which respond to movement in a different way. Formed from curved lengths of transparent acrylic, the ribs and visors contain inertial measurement units, and are touch-sensitive along their length, allowing performers to adjust the sound manually as well as through motion. Fitted with wireless data transmitters, the instruments send signals to an open-source peer-to-peer software system that transforms the gestures into sound.

The ribs are formed from acrylic covered with a touch-sensitive plastic coating, so performers can adjust the sound manually
The ribs are formed from acrylic covered with a touch-sensitive plastic coating, so performers can adjust the sound manually Photograph: Michael Slobodian

The spines allow natural bending and twisting, and contain a series of three measurement devices at specific points. They are fitted with a combination of accelerometers (those cunning things in your phone that can tell up from down), rate gyroscopes, which sense angular velocity, and magnetometers that pick up on the earth’s magnetic field. By mapping these sensors at points along the spinal column, the designers can build a picture of orientation and shape – which is then used to determine the sound that’s made.

“We wanted the instruments to have the simple economy of a well-designed tool, even if the purpose of that tool might be mysterious,” says Halloch. He explains how the pieces are made without screws or nails, the plastic vertebrae simply held together through friction – again to mimic natural skeletal structures. “We didn’t want them to look like they had been hand-crafted, but like they had been made by some imaginary futuristic machine.”

They may look that way, but with wearable technology becoming increasingly accessible, and with the advent of Google Glass and circuit board tattoos, performative prosthetics may well find an audience beyond the stage.