Lithium dancing (hidden in plain sight)
Keywords:social media, digital commons, public commons, technology, myth, algorithms
In this article I explore screendance’s affair with social media, and the logics of production and consumption endemic to dancing for and with smartphones. I use an incidental encounter with two people making a dance video to try and make sense of the ways in which screendance practices and practitioners are being changed by social media technologies. The writing is built on the work of Harmony Bench, Shoshana Zuboff, Alan Jacobs, Zygmunt Bauman, Neil Postman, Yuk Hui and Annie Pfingst and Helen Poynor. I use their scholarship and art to construct an experimental and non-linear seven-part narrative about how screendance can become a set of practices that visibly contradict the extractive datafication of humans in motion.
Part 1—Two young people and their camera—describes the encounter with two people filming their dancing, and serves as the platform on which this writing is based. In part 2—An assumption about what happened next—I introduce the theme of hiding that runs throughout the article, and make a case for my assumption that these two people were making their screendance for social media. Part 3—Algorithmic choreography—introduces the relationship between choreography in screendance and social media algorithms. Part 4—Being in (the) economic common—explores the digital commons as outlined by Bench, and its relationship to visibility, technology and profit-making. Part 5—Myth and the right to a future tense—discusses Jacobs and Zuboff and how they both deploy hiding to consider a future that transcends technocratic rationalism. In part 6—Hidden in the future I zip forward far into the future and remember a 2016 screendance work by Annie Pfingst and Helen Poynor. I do this to as a strategy to imagine a non-technocratic world. Finally, part 7—To distill production from consumption—describes how, through social media, we in screendance have acquired a logic of consumption disguised or hidden as a mode of production.
Copyright (c) 2022 Simon Ellis
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This Author Agreement for The International Journal of Screendance ("Agreement") is entered into by and between The Ohio State University, on behalf of its University Libraries ("Publisher") and the author ("Author").
For good and valuable consideration, Publisher and Author agree as follows:
1. Author hereby grants to Publisher the right to publish, reproduce, distribute, translate, transmit and display his/her submitted work and an abstract thereof ("Work") in The International Journal of Screendance in whole or in part and in all formats and all media. Author also hereby grants to Publisher the right for Publisher to enter into agreements with third parties that grant such third parties any or all of the rights that Author has granted to Publisher herein. The aforementioned rights may include the rights necessary to index and abstract the Work. The Author agrees that any subsequent publication of the Work will credit The International Journal of Screendance as the site of first publication and provide a link to The International Journal of Screendance website. This Agreement is subject to the terms and expectations outlined on Publisher's website (http://go.osu.edu/publishing-services).
2. Author represents and warrants that: (1) they are the creator and rights holder of the Work; (2) Publisher's exercise of the rights granted to Publisher herein will not infringe or violate any copyright or any other right of a third party; (3) if the Work contains any third party content, they have obtained the unrestricted permission of the copyright owner or that use of third party material is allowed because the material is in the public domain or an appropriate fair use analysis has been performed and there is a reasonable belief that use is permitted and (4) the Work contains nothing libelous or otherwise unlawful. Author hereby agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Publisher and its trustees, officers, employees, agents, and subgrantees from all claims related to Publisher's exercise of the rights granted to Publisher herein or related to the subject matter covered in Author's representations and warranties.
The International Journal of Screendance is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, to allow for certain types of reuse without permission. By submitting this agreement, the Author agrees to apply a CC BY 4.0 license to the Work upon publication.