Dancin’ Machine

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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Typotheque, a type foundry and design studio run by Peter and Johanna Biľak, has released Dance Writer as an iPhone/ iPad app that converts text into a choreographed sequence of poses based on the shapes of the letters, enabling users to send animated messages to their friends via email, or just enjoy the graceful movement in full Retina-quality resolution on their own displays.

Dance Writer premiered as an interactive installation at Experimenta Lisbon in 2009. Now, iPhone and iPad owners can create Dance Writer messages, and anyone with an Internet connection can receive them. Dance Writer features the dancing of Valentina Scaglia in choregraphy by Lukáš Timulak with video by Taco Zwaanswijk and programming by Resolume.

Peter Biľak, would you explain why typo-choreography has captured your interest? I’ve been working with modern dance and choreography for about eight years now, collaborating closely with Slovak/Dutch choreographer Lukas Timulak. Some of our projects are here and here. So it is a longer affair with the dance, and now it reached to iPad.

How do you think this will used? For entertainment or other more serious purposes? For fun mainly. I mean you could convert any text to this dance sequences (one idea was to give an option to read your text messages and emails with DanceWriter), but it will be probably annoying at one point.

The human form in dance mode has been a theme for graphic designers and typographers, is this Dance Writer influenced by, say, Karel Teige? Absolutely. I always thought of this as an extension of Teige/Nezval’s work. I am very familiar with work of Teige, and was inspired by interdisciplinary collaboration of Devetsil movement. On this app, programmers, designers, dancers, video artist and choreographer collaborated, so it is very much in the spirit.

For more about this and other Typotheque projects go here. For the typeface, “Body Type,” which turns bodies into a usable type system, go here.