James Buckhouse


Born in Logan, Utah, 1972
Lives in San Francisco

Tap, 2002

in collaboration with Holly Brubach, dancer Christopher Wheeldon and programmer Scott Snibbe.

Commissioned by Dia Center for the Arts. Presentation in cooperation with Creative Time. Technology provided by Palm, Inc. with additional support from hi beam™. Stations designed by ORG.


Website, beaming station

Tap is a virtual dance school for animated characters that exist on the Internet and can be downloaded to individual users’ Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and desktops. Users can choose animated dancers (a male or female) at the Tap website. The dancer takes on a life of its own, practicing, learning from other dancers, and giving recitals. Users do not have to be present during the lessons--the animated characters can be "dropped off" and left to practice for an unlimited time. Dancers can practice at home, as a screen saver on the user's desktop. Their learned routines can be performed for other users.

These performances take place on individual users' PDAs. Dances are downloaded from users' desktops or beaming stations to their PDAs, where they can be performed as well as "beamed" to other PDA users. The dance contains a record of what it took to learn a particular routine. Individual steps from a dance can be incorporated into new dances, and users can encourage their character to continue working with certain moves. Also, two users can let their characters teach each other to dance.

Tap treats digital data not as perfectly reproducible packets of information, but as seeds for new ideas that spread and evolve. As an artwork that relies on exchange, learning processes, and community, Tap becomes a metaphor of networked communication itself. As digital data, tap dance is modular and re-mixable. The similarities between data and the dance routines point to the question of how we think about art through the cultural filter of technology.

Tap can be seen and beamed to your PDA at locations in NYC including:
Dia Center for the Arts, 548 West 22nd St.
Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Ave. at 75th St.
Barnes & Noble at Union Square
Full list of Tap beaming network locations at www.creativetime.org










Josh On
& Futurefarmers