Douglas Van Nort

Canada Research Chair in Digital Performance

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
York University
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

416-736-2100, ext./poste 77018

Research involves

Using performing arts and digital technology to foster new forms of interdisciplinary creative expression.

Research relevance

This research will lead to new modes of expression and new rituals for performance that blend the roles of performer and audience, of real and virtual, and of local and distributed environments.

Immersed in Collective Creation Through Digital Performance

Technology has radically altered the art and experience of performance. In particular, interactive media has opened up new avenues of performer expression and audience engagement.

Dr. Doug Van Nort, Canada Research Chair in Digital Performance, is contributing to these changes by exploring digitally-mediated performances that are created across a wide range of musical and artistic styles and media. He and his research team are examining new forms of performance that integrate improvisation, artificial intelligence and networked environments in order to create a more immersive, inclusive and collective experience.

With this goal of reimagining contemporary experiences of performance in mind, Van Nort and his research team are creating new types of performative events and new instruments of expression. These include collaborations between performers who are located across the world and connected through high-speed networks, as well as performances in which the audience contributes to the creative act. They are also developing machine “listening” agents, who learn performers' expressive patterns in order to act as collaborative partners, creating new sound, lighting or haptic vibrations that are experienced by performers and audience alike.

Van Nort believes that the digital music, theatre and performance art of tomorrow must bridge cultural divides and encourage all members of society to become active participants in the creative act of live art-making. As a result, his research makes use of digital technology not for its own sake, but for its potential to engender transformative experiences and foster inclusivity.