Using Wearable Tech and Metaphoric Data Viz to Augment the Experience of Watching Performance Art

Moderated by: Maziar Ghaderi
Location: D135 Level: Novice

Case Study: Dissolving Self

Dissolving Self: Wearable Technology, Metaphoric Data Visualization + Contemporary Dance

Title: Dissolving Self
Date of Completion: April 26 2013 (Screening premiere)
Artists & Collaborators:

Maziar Ghaderi, 2014 MDes Candidate
Original Concept, Creative Direction

Ryan Maksymic, 2014 MDes Candidate,
Technical Direction

Carlos Montenegro, student sponsored by CNPq – Brazil
Sound Design, Technical Assistance

Size of Work: 10-minute video of premiere screening (TV screen, table, laptop, speakers)

Sufism is a mystical divergence rooted in Islam and is characterized with shamanism, poetic thought, and a display of devotion to The Beloved (God) through prayer, mediation and song. Due to its esoteric, peaceful and apolitical nature, Sufism and most notably, Rumi’s work has gained quite a following in the West.
In 2007, BBC described him as the “most popular poet in America.”I have been very much connected to this sub-culture and in tune with its nuances and intend on exploring the new media and interactive art applications of Sufism.

By utilizing data visualization software, I have created a metaphoric data visualization to portray the poetry of the 13th century Persian & Sufi poet, Rumi as written in the 50,000 lines of the epic poem, The Masnavi. This visualization conveys the movement, and story arc of the text and will be projected above or to the side the Sufi twirler. The result is a layered experiential performance that merges new media technology and ancient dance.
This concept relates to the conference theme in that digital tools and interactive new media technology will being used in an entirely new format that has never been done before. This has been inspired from Ariella Vidach and Claudio Prati’s interactive dance piece that was presented at Digifest 2012 in Toronto last month.

This concept takes one of the oldest forms of word and movement and explores it under a very new, very futuristic lens. The result will be a compelling and unique experience that will cast “new horizons, new narratives and new codes” to the field communication theory.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Maziar and his family received political asylum in Canada at the height of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988. This 29 year-old is fluent in English, Portuguese, Spanish and Farsi and has studied and worked collaboratively in various cities, including: Vancouver, Montreal, Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
He has completed an honours degree in Communication and Social Sciences at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. Currently he is pursuing an MDes in OCAD’s new interdisciplinary Digital Futures graduate program with a focus on data visualization, graphic design, motion graphics and new media application and conceptualization.
Other research interests include the process of decoding and encoding the cognitive world around us. He is compelled by the discovery (or construction) of bridges and patterns between our past and the digital future.

Pluralistic in nature, my artworks, designs, videos and published articles employ contemporary principles of design to enhance the cognitive experience of the observer. My focus is to merge the emotive ideation of art and the technological application of science. True art is that which provokes sentiment and lingers within the memory of the audience; smart design is that which spurs positive change by the introduction of an innovative idea that adds value for the end user. Over the past years, my academic and professional pursuits have strived to walk this fine balance. I aim to shatter the looking glass between cultures to reveal fragments of our society that would otherwise remain muted and ignored.

4. Looping video: TV screen, table, laptop, and speakers; a mannequin wearing Sufi skirt and wearable tech (belt). Power is needed. Estimated set-up time: 10 minutes.


Unlisted YouTube video of premiere screening at the 2013 HASTAC conference:


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