Motion and Representation

Motion and Representation

The Language of Human Movement

By Nicolás Salazar Sutil

An examination of the ways human movement can be represented as a formal language and how this language can be mediated technologically.





An examination of the ways human movement can be represented as a formal language and how this language can be mediated technologically.

In Motion and Representation, Nicolás Salazar Sutil considers the representation of human motion through languages of movement and technological mediation. He argues that technology transforms the representation of movement and that representation in turn transforms the way we move and what we understand to be movement. Humans communicate through movement, physically and mentally. To record and capture integrated movement (both bodily and mental), by means of formal language and technological media, produces a material record and cultural expression of our evolving kinetic minds and identities.

Salazar Sutil considers three forms of movement inscription: a written record (notation), a visual record (animation), and a computational record (motion capture). He focuses on what he calls kinetic formalism—formalized movement in such pursuits as dance, sports, live animation, and kinetic art, as well as abstract definitions of movement in mathematics and computer science. He explores the representation of kinetic space and spatiotemporality; the representation of mental plans of movement; movement notation, including stave notation (Labanotation) and such contemporary forms of notation as Choreographic Language Agent; and the impact of digital technology on contemporary representations of movement—in particular motion capture technology and Internet transfer protocols.

Motion and Representation offers a unique cultural theory of movement and of the ever-changing ways of representing movement.


$29.95 T ISBN: 9780262028882 288 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 52 b&w illus.


  • A richly synoptic view of the flow of analytic approaches to movement in the arts: a general calculus of bodily motion, a geometry of dance, and a history of notation techniques, animation, and motion capture, offering a superbly perceptive synthesis of approaches to movement as it is recast after computation.

    Matthew Fuller

    Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London

  • In this wonderfully wide-ranging book, Nicolás Salazar Sutil provides a powerful and original interpretation of the importance of kinetopoiesis—the movement languages that emerge at the intersection of mathematics, kinematics, and dance. Bringing together movement and mind, thought and gesture, Salazar Sutil shows us that these languages have both inventive and disturbing capacities for the way we live our lives.

    Celia Lury

    Director, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick

  • Nicolás Salazar Sutil calls on a dizzying array of sources in support of an integrated theory of motion, one that connects human motion to the movement of data and the speed of thought. This is one of those wildly synthetic books that challenges you to rethink your assumptions about how you inhabit a postdigital world.

    Frazer Ward

    Associate Professor, Department of Art, Smith College, and author of No Innocent Bystanders: Performance Art and Audience

  • Motion and Representation offers a new, transdisciplinary framework for theorizing the reflexive engendering of movement through cultural constructs and technologies of representation, usefully contributing to scholarship on the very emergence of movement form. Of critical value for aesthetic movement research, Salazar Sutil addresses movement's apparent paradoxes, its differential and extravisual modalities.

    Meredith Morse

    art historian and scholar of modern and contemporary dance, and author of a forthcoming book on Simone Forti