No. 74


By : Alvin Arthur

Entrant’s location : Netherlands



Body.processing is a language of choreographed body movements and gestures that enables people to program and code in collaboration with others. Programming is a skill that is increasingly required in the working world, but the only people who seem capable of doing it are those who can sit staring at a screen for hours. It is a physically lonely and static task. I make it a collaborative and active task, using Processing software, Labanotation principles and tracking technology.

What did you create?

Body.processing is the first chapter of Body.coding, a methodology and digital environment aiming at making programming (coding) accessible to a wider audience, through body movement and dance. By replacing the traditional keyboard by movement, the 'body.coders' engage differently in their activity of creation and execution. It is only possible to activate the coding environment when there are 2 or more body.coders. On a larger note, Body.coding is a model for educational programs, a common ground for the IT, gaming, performing arts and sport industries and a team-building tool for companies. It redefines the boundaries of productivity, well-being and leisure at school and at work.

Why did you make it?

I genuinely believe humans need to move in order to create. So when I started learning programming, a question raised quickly: Why is programming still done in such non creative way when it is such a creative tool? Body.coding is my way of answering it. To me, Body.coding is inducing a way of living that generates empathy through collaboration, self-understanding, physical imagination, resistance to depression, emotional intelligence and more. Empowering body movement within human activities has the potential to impact most sectors. I believe body movement is so basic to human condition that it would help to understand ourselves better, and be less confused by the amount of possibilities offered by technology. Moreover, I am aware most cultural changes start as a niche. The aim here is not to have a solution for everyone but to rather show a way to approach the so called «work-life balance». Since technology takes more and more presence in our daily life, programming does too indirectly. I bet on emerging nations to fuel a new digital culture, as I believe these nations have a stronger and deeper relationship to dance and movement at core.

How did you make it?

Body.coding aims at being open source. Therefore Body.processing uses open source technologies. As creator and creative director of the project, I organized 2 residencies with 2 programmers and 2 dancers, each participant bringing their strengths to the team. It was about finding out which movements would fit the best to which syntax of the programming language, in order to create the best flow possible. We are now able to create visuals or even the landing page of a website. From the hardware perspective, 2 kinects are needed. from the software perspective, we use open source frameworks/tools such as Wekinator to train the Machine Learning model.

Your entry’s specification

The space needed is a square of 5.5m*5.5m. It is surrounded by 32 translucent banners showing the language library (see space here In the center there is a screen (or projection) and 2 short podiums carrying the kinects. On the side there is a desk with drawing material on it so people can be introduced and engage to the language through workshops as well.