Job offer

Interactive Documentation of Dance

Date: September 1st, 2022
Domain: Human-Computer Interaction
Topic: Interactive Documentation of Dance
Group: ExSitu, INRIA Saclay, Université Paris-Saclay
Location: Bâtiment 650 (Ada Lovelace)
Supervisor: Sarah Fdili Alaoui, Assistant Professor, U. Paris-Saclay

We are looking for a post-doc to work with us on the ANR Living Archive project.

The position is 2 years long and can start anytime between March and September 2022.

The goal of Living Archive project is to design interactive systems for dance documentation and archiving using the practitioner's first person approach and research through design methods. The methodology is also grounded in action research where we seek through long-term commitment to field work and collaboration to simultaneously contribute to knowledge in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Design and to benefit the communities of practice.


This full-time postdoctoral position will take place at LISN as part of the ANR Living Archive project. The project is coordinated by LISN (Paris). It is expected that the post-doctoral fellow will interact strongly with doctoral students involved in the project and will work in collaboration with all partners. Travel for experiments or conferences will be funded during the postdoc.
The postdoctoral fellow will be provided a laptop computer and accessories. LISN has acquired several portable motion sensors (IMU, EMG sensors), and has a whole-body motion capture system. Additional equipment can be acquired during the project.


Dance is an embodied practice that is challenging to document because dance movement encompasses a complex and tacit form of embodied knowledge [Fdili Alaoui, 2014] [DeLahunta and Shaw, 2011]. Dance is often recorded through video which results in an unimaginable quantity of dance forms now available on video streaming websites such as YouTube or Vimeo. In addition, some major dance companies use notation (Laban or Benesh) to archive their repertoires. Since the 1990s, academic researchers have experimented with technologies such as motion capture, video augmentation and interactive animation to document notable choreographers’ practices [Camurri, 2004]. However, these approaches present various limitations. Mere video recordings do not inform us about the intended movement qualities nor the kinaesthetic sensations in dance, among others. Formal systems such as Laban or Benesh notations are rarely used by dance artists because they require extensive training and they impose a standard language to characterize movement that practitioners resist [Ciolfi, 2016]. Finally, technologies such as motion capture and interactive animation are cumbersome and costly to deploy and thus are often not accessible to dance artists nor to the public [Fdili Alaoui, 2019].

In the Living Archive project, we envision to design accessible, flexible and adaptable interactive systems that allow practitioners to easily document and archive their dance using their own methods and personal artifacts emphasizing their first-person perspective. We will ground our methodology in action research (AR) where we seek through long-term commitment to field work and collaboration to simultaneously contribute to knowledge in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and to benefit the communities of practice.

Specific Activities

The post-doctoral research will follow 3 main design principles:

  • To favor a first-person perspective:
    We will co-design interactive systems for dance documentation that favor co-participants first-person perspectives [Hook et al, 2018] [Riviere et al, 2018]. These systems will avoid being too specific to a choreographer or too standard and general to the whole dance field. They will adapt to the co-participants allowing them to easily document their dance by using their own vocabulary and by generating their own personal artifacts. This principle highlights participants as active co-producers of knowledge.
  • To embrace indeterminacy and speculation
    We will approach the design of interactive systems for dance documentation by understanding difference as productive. We will embrace a RtD methodology [Zimmerman et al, 2010] [Pierce et al, 2015] and explore frictions, ambiguity and indeterminacy [Gaver et al., 2003] over fixed solutions [Suchman, 2006]. We will stay open to interpretation [Sengers and Gaver, 2006] and will seek to design systems that manage multiple relationships, roles and communications between people in creative collaboration [Hsueh et al, 2019].
  • To follow an AR beyond UCD method
    We will follow an AR methodology [Stringer, 2007] that extends UCD by emphasizing the co-construction of knowledge before, during, and after the implementation of any technological intervention. This ensures that the problems as well as the solutions are collaboratively developed and articulated by the co-partners [Hayes, 2011]. This research inquiry will seek to benefit the dance communities as much as to gain understanding on the design of interactive systems for dance documentation. It will result in a socially relevant, collaborative and engaged research.
Expected Results
  • To gain an understanding on how dance practitioners document and archive dance by collaborating with dancers, choreographers, and dance pedagogues.
  • To co-design interactive systems with dance practitioners that allow them to generate interactive repositories made of self-curated heterogeneous documentation of their dance from their first-person perspective.
  • To deploy interactive systems in real-world situations through long-term fieldwork that aims both at assessing the technology and at benefiting the communities of practice, exemplifying a socially relevant, collaborative, and engaged research.
Required Skills

We are looking for passionate candidates with good Design skills, and a strong background in one or several of the following domains: HCI, body-based interactions and movement and computing, humanities or dance.

Candidates should have a strong background in the design and evaluation of body-based interactive systems as well as qualitative and ethnographic methods. Experience in creative application contexts such as dance or performing arts. Candidates should have experience with research publications in the field of HCI and/or movement and computing (CHI, DIS, MOCO, TOCHI ...). Candidates must hold a PhD in Design or HCI related field at the time of appointment. Candidates should be proficient in at least one programming language and/or an interactive environment such as Max/MSP and/or digital fabrication. They must have good writing skills in English.

  1. Camurri, A., Mazzarino, B., Ricchetti, M., Timmers, R., and Volpe, G. 2004. Multimodal analysis of expressive gesture in music and dance performances. In Gesture-based communication in human-computer interaction volume 2915 of Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence. Springer, 357–358.
  2. Ciolfi Felice, M., Fdili Alaoui, S., Mackay, W. E., 2016 “How Do Choreographers Craft Dance: Designing for a Choreographer-Technology Partnership”, In Proceedings of the International Conference on Movement and Computing (MOCO)
  3. DeLahunta, S. and Shaw, N. Z. Constructing Memories: Creation of the choreographic resource. Performance Research 11, 4 (Feb. 2011), 53-62.
  4. Gaver, WW., Beaver, W., and Benford. S. 2003. Ambiguity as a Resource for Design. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). ACM, 233–240.
  5. Fdili Alaoui, S., Carlson, K. and Schiphorst, T. Choreography as Mediated through Compositional Tools for Movement: Constructing A Historical Perspective. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Movement and Computing MOCO’14.
  6. Fdili Alaoui, S. “Making an interactive dance piece: tensions in integrating technology in art”, In Proceedings of ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS), San Diego, 2019.
  7. Hayes, G.R. The Relationship of Action Research to Human-Computer Interaction. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Vol. 18, No. 3, Article 15, July 2011.
  8. Kristina Höök, Baptiste Caramiaux, Cumhur Erkut, Jodi Forlizzi, Nassrin Hajinejad, Michael Haller, Caroline Hummels, Katherine Isbister, Martin Jonsson, George Khut, Lian Loke, Danielle Lottridge, Patrizia Marti, Edward Melcer, Florian Müller, Marianne Petersen, Thecla Schiphorst, Elena Segura, Anna St\aahl, Dag Svanæs, Jakob Tholander, and Helena Tobiasson. 2018. Embracing First-Person Perspectives in Soma-Based Design. Informatics 5, 1 (2018), 8.
  9. Hsueh, S., Fdili Alaoui, S. and Mackay, W.E. 2019. Deconstructing Creativity: Non-Linear Processes and Fluid Roles in Contemporary Music and Dance”. in the proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW).
  10. Pierce, J., Sengers, P., Hirsch, T., Jenkins, T., Gaver, B., and DiSalvo, C. 2015. Expanding and Refining Design and Criticality in HCI. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), ACM. 2083–2092.
  11. Rivière, JP., Fdili Alaoui, S. Caramiaux, B. and Mackay, W.E. 2018. How Do Dancers Learn To Dance?: A first-person perspective of dance acquisition by expert contemporary dancers. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Movement and Computing (MOCO), 6.
  12. Sengers, P. and Gaver, B. 2006. Staying open to interpretation: engaging multiple meanings in design and evaluation. In ACM Designing Interactive Systems DIS. ACM Press, 99–108.
  13. Stringer, E. T. 2007. Action Research. Sage Publications.
  14. Suchman, L. 2006. Human-Machine Reconfigurations. Cambridge University Press
  15. Zimmerman, J., Jodi Forlizzi, J., and Evenson, S. 2007. Research Through Design As a Method for Interaction Design Research in HCI. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), ACM.
  16. Zimmerman, J., Stolterman,E. and Forlizzi, J. 2010. An Analysis and Critique of Research Through Design: Towards a Formalization of a Research Approach. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS). ACM, 310–319.

Send a CV and a motivation letter to:
Sarah Fdili Alaoui :