Most ballet and modern dancers are taught not to emote with their faces; a smile being the exception that proves the rule. In other forms and in particular in postmodern movement, the face is a critical expressive tool. As a disabled black woman, I am particularly interested in the face dance from a number of different angles.
I am often told that I have an expressive face, that I don’t have a poker face, and that my face frequently makes me look like an “angry black woman.” Aware of how contemporary conversation has revealed bias in AI, Alex and I wanted to explore how my face is read by Alex’s particular technologies.
The face is a complex expressive canvas for a disabled dancers in general and in particular for me. I often find myself in conversations where the face is described as the perfect form for those of us who move less, for whatever reason. That’s true, but it makes the face a kind of leftover form — something you do when you can’t do anything else. I am known for large athletic movement. In this project, we wanted to ask what is the virtuosity of the face dance?
If Robots Could Dance | At Home transforms the ephemerality of facial expression and forgetting into durational dance. It both challenges the perceived boundaries between the self and the technologies with which it is intertwined, while simultaneously interrogating the limits and biases of the data on which these technologies operate.