A joint conference by the ‘Re-‘ Interdisciplinary Network, CRASSH (Center for Research in the arts, Social Services & Humanities
and AI (Artificial Intelligence) & Society Journal
June 26-28, 2019


 Maida Withers

MINDFLUCTUATIONS, a bold interactive virtual journey of dance,  3D computer art, electronic music with the Dance Construction Company, involves real-time engagement with 11 virtual worlds created by Tania Fraga, computer artist,  Brazil, that visualize, in performance, the interface between expressive states of dancers through a Brain Computer Interface, BCI, that emerged from neuroscience research.  A Java 3D application drives participants within a metaphorical virtual reality journey.  A virtual interface allows dancers’ emotive and expressive states to be digitized through a special neuroheadset (Emotiv) that influences aspects of the 3D virtual environments in the computer.   These interactions are projected in real time into the performance arena creating animated art environments for performer and audience.  Emotiv Neuroheadset3x4                                                Photo, Anthony Gongora, dancer/collaborator

Co-Authors:  Maida Withers, Choreographer; Tania Fraga, Computer Art;
Collaborators:   John Driscoll, Composer/Sound Art; Steve Hilmy, Composer/Musician_MG_9947TaniaFraga_DSC1180MaidaTwist8x10CROP_MG_9937SteveHilmy

Dancers/Collaborators:  Felicia Avalos, Ian Ceccarelli, Alicia Diaz, |Anthony Gongora, Mary Heath, Giselle Ruzany, Sammi Rosenfeld, Matthew Thornton, Maida Withers

Program / Here and Now with the Universe
Opening – The Company (no virtual worlds; dancers introduced)
[Click on photos to view in large size]

Part I  The Egg/The BeginningGiselle Ruzany, Felicia Avalos, Sammi RosenfeldFigure01_TheEgg_MG_9382_SelectPart II  Blackness/Underworld:  Felicia Avalos, Ian Ceccarelli, Alicia Diaz, Matthew ThorntonNegreza03SpiralPath_DSC1091_SelectPart III  Obsess:  Felicia Avalos, Anthony Gongora, Giselle Ruzany, Sammi RosenfeldFigure03_Canibalization_MG_9512_SelectPart IV  She / Turned Away:  Giselle Ruzany, Sammi Rosenfeld
Cyberworld_Her__AdamFinal_DSC1113SammiR8x10Part V  Is Anyone Out There?  Fractal / Mathematical Brain: Alicia Diaz;
Anthony Gongora, Matthew Thornton
Figure05_FractalMathematicalBrain_MG_9560_SelectPart VI  Grip / Boundries Drawn: Felicia Avalos, Ian Ceccarelli, Anthony Gongora, Mary Heath, Sammi Rosenfeld, Giselle Ruzany_MG_9630SwayLine_MG_9667FinaleSwayPart VII  Offering:  Maida WithersFigure08_ThaBrainThatCreateArt_DSC1234_Select Part IIX  Monster Within; Brain That Makes Things:  Anthony GongoraFigure07_ThaBrainThatMakeThings_DSC1259AntTwistPart IX  Virtue Exposed:  Felicia Avalos with Anthony Gongora, Ian Ceccarelli,
Sammi Rosenfeld
_DSC1361FeliciaSideStrech_DSC1407FeliciaLungeSide72Part X  Whiteness/Transcendence:  Giselle Ruzany with Felicia Avalos, Ian Ceccarelli, Alicia Diaz, Mary Heath, Matthew Thornton
MindFluctuationsArch_MG_9731ParachuteSideCyberPart XI  Panspermia – Seeding the Universe:  The Company_MG_9916RunFinaleFigure011_Panspermia

Maida Withers,  Director’s Notes
MindFluctuations continues my lifelong fascination with the connection of the human body and mind/brain to innovative technology and builds on the company’s commitment to multidisciplinary collaboration that engages social, environment and political issues. We were  delighted to celebrate and honor forty years of experimentation and performance with the world premiere of MindFluctuations in 2015.  We are now in a “new day where we are exploring modes of actions between humans and machines.” (Tania Fraga). MindFluctuations is on the forefront of brain/body research in the arts.  Tacit engagement IS the collective process of creating dances. What results is what can result from the collective intelligence.

In the 1960s dance was being redefined by new processes used to create work and where and with whom we performed. Collaboration became a new means of making and presenting work as we challenged the status quo. Original music performed live has been in place since the founding of the Company. For MindFluctuation, we were honored to collaborate with artists important to the current and past history of the Company: John Driscoll, music director for MWDCCo from 1974 to 1980, who introduced ideas of robotic sound sculptures (Stall) and innovations in music that helped us redefine dance in the 1970s; Steve Hilmy, music director for the Company from 2005 to present, classically trained musician/composer who performs on four electronic instruments – creating music for our dance performances and films; Tania Fraga, Brazilian computer artist, architect and scholar, collaborator on previous real-time interactive projects: Dance of the Auroras – Fire in the Sky (2001) and Hekuras – Spirits of the Rainforest (2002); David Page, sculptor, contributing his handmade aluminum mask for Monster Within. MindFluctuations features new choreography; dancer’s signature phrases, and short segments/gestures from Withers repertory.
Dancing and creating dances about my life and my perspective on life has sustained my passion and curiosity about life. My deepest appreciation is extended to the many artist/dancer collaborators who joined in this international project and over 140 previous projects, MWDCCo Board of Directors, George Washington University, creative/powerful dancers for commitment to me and the work, to my husband and family for patience and love, and the many others who contributed intelligence, artistic talent, hardware, money, and friendship to make MindFluctuations possible and sustain our creative endeavors over the past four decades.