Dance, AI, and Embodied Neuroaesthetics
Online Lecture (Zoom) by Prof. Emily Cross, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow
Why do we dance, and why are we moved by dance?
Competing accounts suggest that our motivation to dance springs from reasons that are either deeply personal (such as for purposes of exercise, entertainment, or artistic expression), or inherently social, which play a key role in facilitating relationships with others in a social world. A more recent account, however, suggests that the mechanisms of dance are more complex, and as dance scholar and philosopher Kimerer LaMothe suggests, humans “are creatures who evolved to dance as the enabling condition of [our] own bodily becoming.”
In this talk, I consider what psychological, neuroscientific, and even AI studies can tell us about how we perceive dance, and why we might enjoy watching others dance. My aim is not to dissect the phenomenological experience of watching dance into something so granular as to erase the deeply human pleasure of dancing or watching others dance, but to instead highlight what different scientific disciplines can reveal about this ubiquitous and fundamental means of expression.
While dance will certainly endure as a universal means of social bonding, artistic expression and recreation, research efforts over the coming decades spanning the arts, sciences, and technology are poised to uncover many new and unexpected insights into this fundamental human behaviour. The most exciting work to come, I will argue, will transcend disciplinary boundaries, and even humanness, while drawing from a spectrum of creative energies to deepen our understanding of how we communicate and experience our humanity through bodily movement.
Emily Cross is Professor of Human Neuroscience at the Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) and Professor of Social Robotics at the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow (Glasgow, Scotland).