5 reasons to learn programming through choreography
LSN Global interviewed me concerning Body.processing, the first chapter of my project Body.coding and their main question is : How choreography could shape the future of coding?
I hereby answer a series of 6 interrogations from Britt Berden and Kathryn Bishop, developing on the ability of dance and movement for creating a new, more inclusive language for coding. Let’s talk about the possibilities that merging theses worlds offer. I will guide you through the interview in 5 steps, adding some background to the answers.
keywords: #movement #dance #programming #education #work #culture
Could you explain the premise behind your Body.processing project?
“ Body.processing started with my drive to learn Processing language/framework in order to code interactive visuals. I quickly became frustrated with sitting for hours, staring at my screen. I was doing a creative task in a very uninspiring set-up. As I also dance and perform on a regular basis, I wanted to combine my coding learning process with my movement practice. It made so much sense to me. ”
Correlating studies highlight that about 0.3% of the world population is able to read and write a type-based programming language — only 2.3 million people, creating so much of what occurs in our lifestyles today.
The movement-code approach is opening up the balanced process of learning and performing coding to a larger audience, people that need to move in order to learn and create. In fact, movement — or kinesthesia — is helping us human beings to perceive and express way before we become verbal creatures.
2. COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE
In this way, Body.processing has the potential to democratize the process of programming by making this skillset accessible. What types of products and services do you envisage creating as a result of this?
“ One of the reasons I kept developing choreographic gestures based on processing was its simplicity compared to other programming languages. It makes it quite accessible with an incredible amount of possibilities to play with, and therefore a great educational tool. My next areas for development are Snap! and Scratch — two languages for children to learn coding more intuitively — making it a more accessible practice.
On a broader note, Body.processing is a model for educational programs, and could be used in the IT, gaming and sport industries, or even as a team-building tool for companies. It redefines the boundaries of productivity, wellbeing and leisure at work. ”
For having been facilitating workshops or observing in some of the largest companies offices, it is obvious that nowadays employees are expected to be happy most of the time; we give them goodies, salaries, unlimited food, free transportation and many other advantages. We even have chief happiness officers. There is a belief that it might be enough to create wellness, happiness and performance. I observe that the most empowering projects and businesses revolve around creating a collective intelligence. Though, the latter is often processed through the screen, without most of our communication: body language. Movement is one of the most powerful manners to creative collective intelligence, synchrony, and it is still highly unexplored.
On the educational level, empowering children to engage bodily in their learning process is key in their fulfillment: this is what they naturally do, they move! Let’s catalyze this inner will, let’s remove chairs, let’s remove walls!
3. SOCIAL AWARENESS
It’s certainly a radical new way of interacting with often static coding. In your view, could choreographed coding go global or do you see it remaining quite niche?
“ I am aware most cultural changes start as being niche. The aim here is not to have a solution for everyone, but rather to show a way to approach the so-called work-life balance, although, since technology is increasingly present in our daily lives, programming does as well — albeit indirectly. Consequently, I envision emerging nations to fuel this type of new digital culture, as I believe these nations have a stronger and deeper relationship with dance and movement at their core.”
Yes, many emerging and established countries such as South Africa, India, China, Mexico, Nigeria and more, share a strong culture for dance, for movement. It is not fool to project that they will influence even more the world in adopting movement in different aspects of life. Leisure, Education, Work, all will be affected.
Static (or classical) coding makes people stare at the screen, not acknowledging the world around them for a long and repetitive amount of time, becoming a routine. The words of Noel Janice Norton in ‘Calmer, easier, happier screen time’ are and will be relevant for the longest period of time as we do not change how we design these screen based interactions: “The more time children spend in front of the screen, the less time they make eye contact. Without time for eye contact, they can’t anymore read social codes. They aren’t learning to live in society.” Beyond movement, Body.coding emphasizes the physically collaborative aspect: there two roles in the coding process.
With such a performative element, do you expect Body.processing to affect other sectors such as entertainment, media or retail?
“ Major businesses and industries take time to adopt such fluid working practices, which is why my primary focus is schools, where the methods and habits of children can be shaped more easily. I am now working with primary schools, high schools and Universities in order to change their approach to why and how the body can be integrated into educational programs. This is vital. Imagine how performance art in schools could merge with IT — together, they could nurture creativity among individuals, allowing them to program while keeping their bodies and minds sharp and balanced. At a later stage, this will influence corporate culture, as well as workplace definitions of how we should work, and even how we should move in the workplace.”
There is a great potential for creating a culture of movement in companies, for a simple fact: it almost doesn’t exist (at least in the West and Middle-East, where I’ve experienced and seen it so far). Nevertheless, my focus is mainly on schools which are more willing to try new methodologies and approaches.
5. INCLUSIVE FUTURES
How will people’s behavior towards technology develop in the future? Will their imagination still play a role?
“ As global technological development continues to offer a tremendous number of possibilities, I believe people will become more confused and overwhelmed. It is already happening, with our trust continually placed in technology to ease our hectic living conditions. In that sense, I am interested in Monika Bielskyte’s vision of dystopian futures — in which she proposes a more challenging scenario — on levels that major industries are not yet willing to focus on. She brings children agency or cultural diversity, for instance, in a remarkable light.
We need truly inclusive futures. It will be hard work but, once again, it’s vital. The ability to imagine these futures is key, and the possibilities to create them already exist.
Movement will empower us in that endeavor. It is so basic to the human condition. Movement will help us to refocus and understand ourselves better. To me, Body.processing is inducing a way of living that generates empathy through collaboration, self-understanding, physical imagination, resilience to depression, emotional intelligence and more. ”
Yes, we need truly inclusive futures to facilitate more creativity. In many sectors inclusiveness is a misunderstood, overlooked or minimized question, this pattern grows and establishes itself as a norm. Movement will empower people in the endeavor of reversing such norms.
Body.coding is now evolving as an educative tool for people to play with, especially children. Get in touch with me for tailored programs, workshops. Currently, the second chapter developed is body.html where we show people how to code a simple landing webpage in movement. I would like now to leave you with the last question of this article, the bonus. If you think this is valuable information, don’t hesitate to react, comment, clap, share.
In the future, will we be able to use movement to program our realities in real time or react to our environments?
“ Printed food, augmented reality (AR), Google Glass — these are all concrete examples of what is already conceivable to the masses in terms of real-time, programmable products. As we move towards the common use of sensor technology, it will become far less intrusive and eventually will be seamless to the point that it will feel very natural for us to shape any environment in real time.
The expression ‘Homo Deus’ seems to be the one fitting here — this is the role we play, seeking ourselves in the realities we create. Let’s not forget it is all a mirror: what we design, designs us back. Therefore, will having more control over programming our realities answer our deeper existential questions? ”
Thank you for reading me! Find the link to the original article right here. You can also check out my work here.
Till the next one!