Digital Humanities and the Performing Arts: A Collaboration

Stephen Ramsay, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Susan Weisner, University of Maryland

Brian Pytlik-Zillig, University of Nebraska-Lincoln / CDRH

Rommie Stalnaker, independent scholar

This proposed 90-minute panel considers the ongoing collaboration between digital humanities and performing arts scholars and practitioners known as Schrifttanz Zwei (SZ).  As digital technologies support this multi-disciplinary project combining archival research, dance choreography, music composition, animation creation, and video projection, this panel presents how we access and move through the digital and analog spaces in which we each work. Included in the panel will be a brief, painless, movement experience that will allow attendees to explore the embodied knowledge inherent in our project.

SZ began when two performing artists who conduct DH research using Dance (Wiesner and Stalnaker) attended a presentation on music and animation by Stephen Ramsay and Brian Pytlik Zillig at DH2016. Realizing that Pytlik Zillig and Ramsay had crossed boundaries into the non-verbal world of the arts, Wiesner and Stalnaker shared their desire to work with Ramsay and Pytlik Zillig, and the new team proceeded to reconstruct/reimagine a 1927 dance score created by Irmgard Bartenieff (1900-1981). Hoping to challenge our disciplinary approaches while giving voice to individual creativity,  SZ enables all team members to acknowledge creative practice within a research framework. SZ is admittedly an interdisciplinary artistic collaboration, yet we believe it is in productive dialog with digital humanities more generally, and indeed, grows out of this work. We hope this panel + movement experience will provoke discussion and perhaps inspire others to find ways to access other “outlier” disciplines through collaborative activities.