In exploring contemporary digital dancing, she doesn’t deny the difference that the digital makes, in opposition to the organic experience of dance; the problem for her is not this difference itself. Rather, at issue with the digital is a tendency to hide its differential: its ability to make difference. The differential gets overlooked, for instance, when the difference that codification makes is reduced to convertibility: how does one thing retain its significance across different media? Portanova’s key insight is that a digital logic is fundamentally one of the cut: not as a means to an end, but as a “mathematical or numerical idea, in itself”.
This disjunctive potential, often considered a problem or a loss when it comes to the preservative or creative work of digi-dance, is here re-imagined for the positive creativity that a cut into the continuity that characterizes organic experience can allow. This is the work of imagination. While it may seem counterintuitive to revalorize ideas such as disembodiment and desubjectification, given how these are bound to the fear of digital technology, Portanova claims we need to ask new questions about the “status of the captured objects”, such as the data from Motion capture technologies, and on the relation between technological preservation and transcendental memory, or “pure memory” as a source not of preservation, but of change and creation. These are ethico-aesthetical questions. They are questions fundamentally about relation itself, seeing technology not simply as a tool or interface for relations between bodies and subjects, but as already participating in a relational ecology.