15 May 2024 15:00–16:00 S1, Alison Richard Building, Sidgwick Site



Dr Leo Impett – Assistant Professor Digital Humanities, Convenor of MPhil, Cambridge Digital Humanities

Silvia Garzarella, Visiting Scholar – Performing, and Media Arts at the University of Bologna


Gesture in Digital Art History – Leo Impett

The basic tenet of this talk is that gesture is an unusually quantifiable parameter of visual studies, detectable automatically by computer vision,  and therefore an extremely useful basis for Digital Art History. Gesture Studies is already a strongly interdisciplinary field, encompassing art history, historical anthropology, psychology, semiotics and linguistics; this perhaps makes the intrusion of the computational less controversial. There are important differences, however, between gesture that is physically enacted and depicted in art. Psycholinguistic distinctions between subconsciously produced gesture and “manifest deliberate expressiveness” collapse in the case of carefully choreographed artworks, which we might term externally deliberate, or—in contrast to the dynamic and subconscious movements normally referred to by Gesture Studies—as Static-Depicted Gestures.

Encoding Ballet with Digital Technologies: A Computational Approach to Dance Cultural Heritage – Silvia Garzarella

The cultural heritage of ballet is characterised by the coexistence of tangible and intangible objects, expressing a tradition extremely varied in terms of documentary types and distribution. Preserving such heritage entails acknowledging its plurality, which involves adopting a comparative approach to analysing all the sources. This intervention seeks to explore the potential emerging from the convergence of dance studies and digital technologies: What methodologies can be employed to scrutinise a dance solo effectively? How might one delve into the legacy of a choreographer? What effective strategies exist for curating and utilising the archival documents stored within theatre archives? Starting from the perspective of a PhD research in dance theory, this talk aims to foster an open dialogue, spanning various interests and fields of study.


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