Moist art as telematic dance: Connecting wet and dry bodies | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 13, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533



Assuming that the contemporary world is inevitably set in the context of moistmedia (Ascott 2000), this article discusses some artistic proposals that specifically seek to explore the relationship between dry technology and the wet human body, as in the case of telematic dance. This article is grounded in Clark’s (2003) concept of the ‘extended mind’ and ‘cognitive artefact’; Noë’s (2004; 2012) ‘activism’ theory; and Gallagher’s (2005) ideas surrounding ‘body image’ and ‘body schema’. My discussion of ‘moistmedia’ is focused on Ascott’s ‘Moist Manifesto’ (2000, 2003a), as well as moist theories which contribute to rethinking notions of (tele)presence, time, space, distance and of the very body. Through these new comprehensions we can understand the new perceptual demands that dancers have to deal with in the context of telematic dance. This new art configuration promotes different sensory motor experiences compared with a stage-based dance environment. The networked field of telematic dance is one way in which to render reality fluid in a moist context. In this sense, telematic projects could be assumed as moist art – ‘the hybrid interval between cyber and physical space’ – and as the ‘digitally dry, biologically wet, and spiritually numinous’ (Ascott 2003). Analyses of performances created within the project entitled ‘Embodied Varios Darmstadt’ 58’ (2013–14), with the collaboration of artists from Mexico, Spain, Portugal and Chile, will contribute to my discussion of telematic dance. This telematic artistic project was created to develop the concept of the ‘(tele) sonorous body’ from a theoretical and aesthetic point of view, so as to follow my interest in exploring telepresence beyond visual image. In this article, it is assumed that a human being experiences her/his world through sensory motor skills and that these are in play when s/he interacts with the environment (Noë 2004), a milieu garnered from Ascott’s ‘Moist Manifesto’ (2003a). The cultural shift proposed by this manifesto brings into play some important considerations, including notions of negotiation, construction, context and distributed mind, which overlap with conventional ideas of reception, representation, content and the autonomous brain respectively. Our interactions via telepresence with a dance partner bring about different ways of perceiving one another and oneself, because body image and body schema play an active role in shaping our perceptions (Gallagher 2005). Our actions and perceptions, our body image and body schema are responsible for our behaviour and learning in this world, interweaving these bodies partially wet (i.e. those onstage) with the dry (i.e. those tele-transported through cyberspace. The analysis of ‘Embodied Varios Darmstadt’ 58’ will contribute to understanding the perceptual demands of the dancer within the telematic environment, as well as the new notions of time, space, distance, presence, and the very notion of relationship or body contact in dance embedded into this ‘+ + biological culture’.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): body image/body schema; moist art; perception; telematic dance
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error