If the Archive Can’t Consent

If the Archive Can’t Consent: Historical Dance Footage, Computer Vision, and the Ethics of AI

A presentation by Kate Elswit and Harmony Bench with response by Kevin Walker.
Tuesday 31 January 2023, 4pm-5:30pm GMT

hybrid event (in person and on zoom)
Location in person: ICE Presentation Suite G17, Institute for Creative Cultures, Coventry University
Location online: zoom details available after booking

Bookings: https://www.eventsforce.net/cugroup/1173/register

Contemporary experimentation with machine vision and motion extraction tends to be based on recent footage and/or live bodies. But what happens when we engage historical dance footage as a data source? If the archive can’t consent, how might we propose a method of analysis that is not based on a politics of capture? How do historical materials defamiliarize norms of extraction, and dominant ideologies of the body on which models tend to be trained, in particular with regard to minoritarian subjects? What would it take for AI-driven computer vision to be informed by specific dance-based ways of knowing embodiment? In this conversation, Harmony Bench and Kate Elswit will share some questions that are emerging from their current research trajectory, Visceral Histories, Visual Arguments: Dance-Based Approaches to Data.

You can view a recording of this event on the C-DaRE YouTube channel.

Image details

Caption: Motion data from historical footage: Dunham Walk with mesh model for pose estimation.
Source: “Dunham Technique: Dunham walk—slow.” Video. https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200003863/
Modeling: Nicola Plant / Visceral Histories, Visual Arguments: Dance-Based Approaches to Data