Yacov Sharir

(Austin, Texas/USA)


Yacov Sharir is a choreographer, dancer, technologist and innovator. He is Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas-Austin, and Artistic Director of the Austin-based Sharir Dance Company. After graduation from the Bezalel Academy of Arts, Professor Sharir studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Music, the Bat-Sheva Dance Company School, the Stuttgart Ballet, and the Ballet Theatre Contemporaine in Paris. He has performed under the direction of Martha Graham, Jerome Robbins, Jose Limon and Anna Sokolow, among others. A dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel, Sharir is the founder of both the American Deaf Dance Company and the Sharir Dance Company, a professional dance company of the UT College of Fine Arts. As a multiple recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Choreographic Fellowship, he has choreographed for such companies such as the Bat-Sheva Dance Company, Hartford Ballet, Dallas Ballet, the Kibbutz Dance Company of Israel and the Utah Repertory Dance Theatre. He was a recipient of an "Arts And Virtual Environments" two year fellowship awarded by the Banff Center for the Arts and is engaged in extensive international lectures and workshops directly related to the issues of virtual environments, cyberspace and computerized choreography.

He is considered one of the pioneers in the field of dance and technology, and recently been involved in numerous research and cross-disciplinary productions, including a collaboration with intelligent textile designer Barbara Layne (Hexagram, Montréal). He is currently completing his PhD at the Planetarium (Plymnouth).

Yacov Sharir and Wei Yei, working on the Future Physical performance commission "Intelligent City" along with Sophia Lycouris and Stan Wijnans, demonstrated a wearable protoype at the WEAR-ME!! Network Exchange, showing three iterations of wearable computing suits which they have developed in the past two years.

Displaying video footage from a project using the first wearable suit developed with Wei Yei, entitled The Automated Body Project, Yacov featured the cyber-suit: "It collected data from the wearer, including EEG information, talked to a "mothership" and returned, via radio-frequency communications, an image representing the data. You could move your eyes and the image would move, or extend an arm and the image would extend - the images were projected on a transparent screen. A dataglove also let me manipulate that material in real-time." The first iteration of the cyber-suit featured a large, rigid control pack on the front, and Sharir and Yei set about shrinking as much of its electronics into the actual suit as possible. Sharir demonstrated the second version of the suit operating in a performance entitled Lullaby: "For me, it was the first time I could create a situation with a slight relationship between a human and a cyber-human. By wearing the suit, I could activate different types of movements or phrases." According to the designer, the Cyberprint suit is conceived to measure body responses. : "We were interested in creating an alternative to a motion-capture suit, able to control a cyber-character from a distance wirelessly." (Sharir)


website: http://www.arts.state.tx.us/studios/sharir/index.htm