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MIT Museum & Harvard Carpenter Center

Chocolate City Dance Map

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"Bamba in Motion by Marcel Santiago." Film stills. 2023

Let’s get this party started right. Black dance and music are an exact representation of place: out of the migratory hotspots where it has evolved; in the neighborhoods where it originates, through the architecture where it is performed, and in the psychic spaces of those who use it as expression, healing, and joy.


Using motion capture and photogrammetry as a point of departure, The Chocolate City Dance Map is a cartography of Black somatic choreographic movement made in collaboration with MIT.nano and the MIT Immersion Lab. At the intersection of art, science, technology, and social practice, The Chocolate City Dance Map will come to life through the presentation of the “Make Techno Black Again” immersive experience and the sharing of an open-source digital library of Black dance. 


What is a map besides an abstraction of what the body knows innately? Here I posit dance as a type of map, a territorial formation of labor, race, class that maps itself onto the body through movement. Popularized by George Clinton, “Chocolate Cites” refer to the constellation of towns and cities where Black culture is maintained, created, and defended. Places like Detroit, Chi-town, and Philly. Enclaves like Tremé, Harlem and Holly Springs. Places that articulate their own sound and gesture.

"Are You Dancing or Are You Stretching?" Digital film. 12:19 minutes. 2023

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Installation Shot. Screening and lecture at MIT Museum. 2023

Process Video. 360 video of Bomba dancer Marcel Santiago in the MIT.nano Immersion lab


Process Image. "Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life" by M.A. Hunter & Zandria F. Robinson

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Installation Shot. Augmented reality exhibition at MIT.nano. Made in collaboration with Ardalan SadeghiKivi. 2023

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Installation Shot. Upon using your phone to scan a QR code, an AR animated movement sculpture dances based on the abstracted avatars of each dancer. The “movement sculpture” captures a composite of multi-perspectival, simultaneous frames of dance

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Artistic Team: Ardalan SadeghiKivi, Rakan Ghresi

AR/VR Technologist: Talis Reks 

Research Scientist: Praneeth Namburi

Filmmaker: Ian Daniel

Dance Theorists: Adesola Akinleye, Grisha Coleman

Institutional Partner: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mentorship & Curatorial Support: Kimberli Grant, Tobias Pruith

Funding: Meta Open Arts, Brooklyn Museum, Council of Arts at MIT

Gratitude: MIT.nano, MIT Art, Culture, and Technology Program, MIT Immersion Lab

Dancers: Buyile Narwele, Marcel Santiago, London Escada, DJ Cakewalk (James Walker), Jean Apollon Expressions, Khie Hylton, Shakir Evans, Friedlay Steve

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