A team from Art-A-Hack™ 2020 Special Edition — Covid-19 'DANCEDEMIC'

Team members:

  • Hussein Smko
  • JiaXuan Hon
  • Kat Sullivan
  • Mingna Li
  • Neve Parker
  • Nina Mirhabibi
  • Sandro Miccoli
  • Tyler Parker

Team Hussein created Walk With Me collaborating remotely from London UK, Sao Paolo Brazil, New York, Orlando, and Tallinn Estonia to create an augmented live streamed performance with sound and visuals driven by the biometrics of dancer Hussein Smko.

A still from the 'Walk With Me' live performance with dancer Hussein Smko
A still from the 'Walk With Me' live performance with dancer Hussein Smko

The team focused on themes of mental strength and resilience in the face of adversity and chaos, inspired by Hussein’s memories of growing up in wartime Iraqi Kurdistan.

Hussein wore an Emotibit biosensor on his forehead, which the team tapped into wirelessly, translating the realtime data readings into graphic overlays embedded in the live stream.

The biometric data was represented visually in the form of changing multi-colored strokes that surrounded Hussein’s body throughout the duration of the performance. The sound environment shifted according to blood oxygen and muscle contraction readings.

The 'Walk With Me' team co-working remotely
The 'Walk With Me' team co-working remotely

In the live performance, Smko embodied the practice of a ronin (a masterless Samurai) where, no matter the situation, one must find calmness from within and stay grounded.

Team members, including engineers, artists, creative technologists, software developers, musicians, and set designers connected remotely to a broadcasting system set up in the studio to work with Hussein and develop the performance.

Watch the 'Walk With Me' live performance

The piece was broadcast live as part of the 39th annual Battery Dance Festival, which in this year was fully virtual due to lockdowns associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The teams used the innovative artist-led eˉlektron live streaming platform to engage audiences on the day of the show.

Project Team

Ellen Pearlman - NYC, USA
Project Manager
Katie Larson - Chicago, USA
Technical Lead
Andy McWilliams

Sean Montgomery - NYC, USA

Kaie Olmre - Tallinn, Estonia
Taavet Jansen - Tallinn, Estonia
Andrus Aaslaid - Tallinn, Estonia

Walk With Me
Dancer - Hussein Smko - Iraq/Kurdistan/USA
Tyler Parker - NYC, USA
Kat Sullivan - NYC, USA
Mingna Li - NYC, USA
Sandro Miccoli - Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Neve Parker - NYC, USA
Nina Mirhabibi - Orlando, Florida, USA
JiaXuan Hon - London, UK

Special thanks to Dan Oved - LA/NYC, USA

Art-A-Hack’s “DANCEDEMIC” was funded through an Alumni TIES and World Learning small grant from the U.S. Department of State.