What is a nullspace?

The null-space is our natural starting point for investigations of space-phenomena.

In mathematics one often finds an implicit consensus on the null-model with reference to some universal laws governing the uncertain. Eventually it is left to the individual to decide what is the expected and what the unexpected. The noise may become the signal and the signal the noise. What are the null-models of space-phenomena? These we call null-spaces. A null-space, just like a null-model, is therefore not unique and not objective, but intersubjective and consensual.

Reflecting on the particular null-spaces of the four chosen disciplines we acknowledge that they have a common ground: an awareness for space and a certain tacit knowledge about space. Each discipline deals with their own praxeological forms of knowledge

Desire Machine Lab

The Atlas of Smooth Spaces is concerned with the space that is created around performers, shaped through performers and accessed by performers. Following this approach Desire Machine is a proposition of a smooth performative space for movement, sound, and light. The elements are arranged through the logic of assemblage developed by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus

Among the key methodological questions of the PEEK project is the issue of capture and creation of the smooth spaces by the means of notation: 

“We argue along the lines of Deleuze and Guattari, that capture and creation are related to each other via a duality, which is notation. A notation attempts to capture anything ephemeral, to fix a system out of the many possible ones. A notation confines. However within the confines and limitations of an alphabet, the playful and the intensive (related to intensivity/uncountability) can prosper. Thus notation is itself a form of striation, but at the same time both a method for capture and a method for creation of smooth spaces. This duality is explored in great detail in the work of Deleuze and Guattari: “It does not just go from the smooth to the striated, it reconstitutes smooth space, […] it reimparts smooth in the wake of the striated”. Therefore “it is possible to live smooth even in the cities, to be an urban nomad”. (Deleuze, Guattari 1987, p.482)

Desire Machine follows this proposition by creating an organizational structure that allows unity through multiplicity, the simultaneous capture – creation process. This is achieved through the application of technology as both a smooth and striated form of notation. 

  • Theoretical challenges – Desire Machines – The logic of Assemblage

For Deleuze and Guattari, desire is not to be identified with lack, with the law, or with the signifier, but rather with production, with desiring-production in the social field. For them, the Oedipal myth and its institutionalization in psychoanalysis stand directly in the way of understanding the productive unconscious.

Desiring machines are the site of that production. For Deleuze and Guattari, every machine is a machine connected to another machine. Every machine functions as a break in the flow in relation to the machine to which it is connected, but is at the same time also a flow itself, or the production of a flow.

The concept first appears in  Anti-Oedipus (1977), but in  A Thousand Plateaus (1987), they instead speak of abstract machines and assemblages, At the same time they retain the core idea that desire’s basic function is to assemble and render machinic.

Moving beyond the notion of structure—assemblage operates as a relay concept, “linking the problematic of structure with that of change and far-from-equilibrium systems” (Venn 2006, 107 as cited in de Assis, P., & Giudici, P., 2021).

With its interplay between organization and unpredictability, the assemblage works as a dynamic concept, linking the problematic of structure with that of chance and continuous change.

A logic of assemblage, imperceptibly moving between the poles of content and expression has several consequences: the overcoming of unity in favor of multiplicity, of the essence in favor of the event, of being in favor of becoming, of elusive certainty in favor of informed inconsistency.

Elisabeth Grosz in Volatile Bodies (1994):

“Subject and object are series of flows, energies, movements, strata, segments, organs, and intensities – fragments capable of being linked together or severed in potentially infinite ways other than those which congeal them into identities.

[…] Production consists of those processes which create linkages between fragments, fragments of bodies, and fragments of objects.

[…] It is not that the world is without strata, totally flattened; rather, the hierarchies are not the result of substances and their nature and value but of modes of organization of separate substances. They are composed of lines, of movements, speeds, and intensities, rather than of things and their relations. Assemblages or multiplicities, then, because they are essentially in movement, in action, are always made, not found. They are consequences of a practice…”

Anne Sauvagnargues in Artmachines (2016):

[…] both image and sign are considered as instances of real production […] only in the relation to other signs and images, situated in ‘rhizomes’ and ‘ecologies’ that should be approached through ethology and experimentation rather than through interpretation.

[…] We now think of images as individuations embedded in an ecology of images, always in a state of becoming.

Desire Machine Lab focuses on creating a map of the fragments of an Assemblage in:

* anti-Oedipus, non-representational way

* non-hierarchic way

* in a non arborescent, rhizomatic way

* between the lines of content and expression

* between the image and sign

* between experimental and poetic


de Assis, P., & Giudici, P. (Eds.). (2021). Machinic Assemblages of Desire: Deleuze and Artistic Research 3. Leuven University Press.

Grosz, E. (1995). Volatile bodies: toward a corporeal feminism. Choice Reviews Online.

Sauvagnargues, A., Verderber, S., & Holland, E. W. (2016). Artmachines: Deleuze, Guattari, Simondon. Edinburgh University Press.

Here is some of the output produced in this Lab:

Desire Machine @ Rosenberg Festival
Desire Machine Lab Score
Desire Machine @ Schmiede Hallein

Furthermore in order to pursue this artistic investigation, we also developed a library of MaxForLive devices (DesireMachine) that interface with the DMX lights system This library is open source and freely available for other artist-researchers to use and expand on:

Lab participants

👤 Leonhard Horstmeyer
👤 Maria Shurkhal
👤 Adrián Artacho


In practice any clear and unpolluted configuration can function as a departure point. In mathematics, these departure points are called null-models and we may call the departure expressive spaces null-spaces

Returning to the intensive qualities of expressive space, we recall the mantra attributed to Aristotle: The whole is more than the sum of its parts. These mores are precisely those that cannot be explained by simple extrapolation from the parts via a reductionist approach. Those mores are the emergent phenomena. Those qualitative mores are what we attempt to surgically extract and harvest. 

NULLSPACE DANCE study cases:

\ Dance Groups

Study Materials by Rose Breuss including Jean Paul Sartres theory about practical freedom in groups. Learn More

\ Dancing Motoricity

Dancing Motoricity of Dorothee Günther´s Illustrations. Learn more

\ Dore Hoyer Project

Dance as an artistic practice is a multilayered phenomenon. In Cooperation with FAR – Fashion and Robotics. Learn more

Here is some of the output originated in this Nullspace:

Vorstellung des PEEK-Projekts „Atlas of Smooth Spaces“ @ Forschungsforum
Tallis in Wonderland @ Atelierhaus (Akad. Bildende Künste)
SCORES | Zwischen Dokumentation, Vermittlung und Kreation
„Dance Groups: Study Materials by Rose Breuss including Jean Paul Sartre´s theory about practical freedom in groups“
Dancing Motoricity of Dorothee Günther´s Illustrations: GYMNASTISCHE GRUNDÜBUNGEN, NACH SYSTEM MENSENDIECK
Dore Hoyer Project
„NOW, as I was about to….“ @ Brückenfestival
/spɜm/ @ Linz
5 Pieces - Dance Cie. Off Verticality @ Brick5
Rosenberg Dance Research Festival
Conference on Dance Research
Dance and Theory – Challenges and Tendencies in Teaching Theory in Dance Education. International conference Bratislava
Desire Machine @ Schmiede Hallein
ChoreographiaInterAustriaca and Altenberg Trio @ Minoritenkirche

Dance Representatives

👤 Rose Breuss
👤 Maria Shurkhal
👤 Damián Federico Cortés Alberti
👤 Marcela López Morales
👤 Kai Chun Chuang

„Dance Groups: Study Materials by Rose Breuss including Jean Paul Sartre´s theory about practical freedom in groups“

  • Investigating questions for (de)constructing group routines in dance practices:
  • When are we a group? Can we not be in a group? And how?, What do we consider the mechanisms of groups? 

See article by Gavin Rae: Sartre, Group Formations, and Practical Freedom  

  • Are we in a group if we are alone?

Isadora Duncan´s Solo Dancing: 

“ When I have danced I have tried always to be the chorus […] I have never once danced a solo” 

Duncan, Isadora. 1928. The Art of Dance. New York: Theatre Arts, 96

  • What are the specificities of dancing in a group?  A case study about Entrainment – DUO by W. Forsythe

„Bildlich gesprochen kann man sich die Choreographie von DUO als komponiert aus einem Gewebe von Bewegung vorstellen – Bewegung nicht zweier einzelner Körper, sondern zwischen zwei Menschen. Dieses Gewebe besteht aus verschiedenen entrainment Verfahren: Unisono, Turn-Taking (der eine Tänzer bewegt sich, während der andere darauf wartet, wieder in die gemeinsame Bewegung einzutreten), Pausen und Kontrapunkt (rhythmisch verbundenes Tanzen zwischen Partnern)“ 

“Figuratively speaking, one can imagine the choreography of DUO as composed of a fabric of movement – movement not of two individual bodies, but between two people. This fabric consists of various entrainment processes: Unison, turn-taking (one dancer moves while the other waits to re-enter the shared movement), pauses and counterpoint (rhythmically linked dancing between partners).” (translated by R.B.)

Waterhouse, Elisabeth: Entrainment und das zeitgenössische Ballett von William Forsythe, 215. in: (De)Synchronisieren? Leben im Plural

Gabriele Brandstetter/Kai van Eikels/Anne Schuh (Hg). 2017. Hannover: Wehrhan

See Link: Ballet de Lorraine

see also: 

Sparshott, Francis. 1995. A Measured Pace, Towards a Philosophical Understanding of the Arts of Dance, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 183-201.

  • What do we consider the specificities of choreographing a group? A historiographical case study, with emphasis on relatively “orphaned” dance histories: 

Sascha Leontiew – fotographs

Alexander Leontjew

Born 12.6.1897 in Rīga
Died 24.8.1942 in Mauthausen

Was a Russian dancer and choreographer, ballet master at Vienna State Opera

Link 1 Link 2 Link 3

Bronislava Nijinska – “Les Noces” , Marinsky Ballet

Dorothee Günther – group fotographs , Orff Zentrum München

Gertrud Bodenwieser – Sunset

Dancing Motoricity of Dorothee Günther´s Illustrations: GYMNASTISCHE GRUNDÜBUNGEN, NACH SYSTEM MENSENDIECK

A first Study



Dorothee Günther

#14, 15,16,19,22,25,26,29,30,41,42,46,47,48,49

14 BECKENSCHWUNG, am Platz seitlich

15 BECKENSCHWUNG, am Platz vor rück

16 BECKENSCHWUNG,  im Schreiten

19 GANGÜBUNG hoch verlagert

22 ARMFÜHRUNG, vom Körper aufgenommen

25 SPANNUNG, Anwendung einer Vor-hoch und Tief-rück Spannung, in Fortbewegung, Beliebig, in Raumweg und Spannungstyp variieren

26 SPANNUNG, Anwendung einer Hoch-tief Spannung in Fortbewegung, beliebig im Raumweg und Spannungstyp variieren

29 HÜPFEN mit Ausgreifen

30 HÜPFEN, mit Anschwung

41 GANZDREHUNG, am Platz, über vor

42 GANZDREHUNG, am Platz, über rück



48 SEITLICHER SCHWUNG, in Fortbewegung, vor

49 SEITLICHER SCHWUNG, in Fortbewegung, rück

Welches Körperbild/-Schema zeichnen die Strichfiguren?

Welche motorischen Prinzipien, Formenrepertoires, räumliche Ordnungen speichern die Striche?

Welche Energie setzen sie frei, welche Modulationen zeichnen sich ab?

Was ergibt die Übertragung der Strichdetails?

STRICHE „lesen“:

Die Übertragung der Zeichnungen in  Labanotation 

  • Erfasst eindeutige Gelenkstellungen, Körperteilrichtungen, Ausrichtung des Körpers – nach vor zur Seite nach hinten
  • Die genaue Analyse der Positionen und ihrer Verbindungen hebt das fiktive Potential der Bewegungen hervor. Anatomisch eindeutige Striche wechseln mit anatomisch nicht zuzuordnenden Anteilen. Die „motorische“ Ausdeutung dieser A-logiken in den Zeichnungen bringt aber ein spezifisches Körpergefühl und eine spezifische Motorizität hervor. (siehe Körperschema und motorische Repertoires)
  • Die Interpretation der a-anatomischen Striche, z.B. der unter den Rippen ansetzende Beinstrich,  der sich über die Hüften rundet oder 15c – Streckung des Beine ist nur durch Aufziehen der Hüfte möglich.
  • Simuliert fiktive, nur angedeutete Bewegungen und Körperstellungen,  z.B. unvollständige Armstriche. 
  • Die Richtung der Rundungen von Arm- und Beinstrichen erschließt Ein- und Ausdrehungen der Arme und Beine z.B. z.B.  15a gerundete Arme nach rück 

Das durch Striche skizzierte Körperschema:


Kopfhaltungen – Ausrichtungen durch „Nase“ angedeutet. Macht Drehungen, Neigungen des Kopfes sichtbar.


Geschwungene Linien des Torsos zeigen Kontraktionen (Definition aus Labanotation:  Rumpf-Mitte bewegt sich aus der Achse) und Neigungen (tilts Definition aus Labanotation: Becken, oder Brustkorb bewegt sich aus der Achse) oder eine Kombination aus beiden Aktionen deutlich.

Der Brustkorb wird durch Rippen und Schulterblätter angedeutet.

Das Becken neigt sich nach vor oder zurück ist in die Beinlinie integriert. Siehe Beinschema.


Die Arme sind entweder als ganzes gerundet, oder 2 -, 3 – bzw. 4 – fach abgewinkelt. Knicklinien in den Schultern, Ellbogen, in den Handgelenken, in der Handmitte


Der Beinstrich setzt unter dem Brustkorb an.

Die beine sind entweder als ganzes gerundet – vor allem in der Seitbewegung #47 – seitlicher Kippschwung, oder 2 -, 3 – bzw. 4 – fach abgewinkelt. Knicklinien in den Knien, Fußgelenken, Füßen, Zehen. (auffallend sind die „hohen“ relevés, d.h. sehr oft auf dem Zehenrücken und nicht auf dem ganzen Ballen, #7a Ausgangsposition für Beinübung.

Motorische Repertoires – erste Skizze

  • Rekonstruktion gezeichneter Stellungen/Posen
  • Suchbewegungen der motorischen Prinzipien a- anatomischer Zeichnungsdetails
  • Suchbewegung der Raumwege zwischen den Positionen der einzelnen Körperteile
  • Anwendung der strichliert eingezeichneten Raumwege zwischen den Positionen
  • Gesten und Koordination mehrerer Gesten, auch in Fortbewegung
  • Motorische Repertoires: Gehen, Schreiten, Schwingen, Hüfen, Springen, Kippen, Übersetzen
  • (Raum)Richtungen sind in Ausrichtung, Raumpositionen der Körperteile und! Spannungsrichtungen festgehalten. z.B. #25
  • Spannungsrichtungen erzeugen spezifische Phänomene, wie alle angrenzenden Körperteile tendieren auch in dieselbe Richtung. Mithochziehen der Hüfte in seitlichen Beingesten oder #7,  oder in #26 Mitinvolvieren, des Kopfes, Schulter, Brustkorb.
  • Diese Spannungsrichtungen erzeugen eine ständige Ausverhandlung der Balance und bringen jede Bewegung aus der Körper-Achse heraus.
  • Auch Positionen sind daher a-symmetrisch, aus der Achsenlinie wegbewegt und erfordern im „Halten“ der Position spezifische Gegenspannungen.
  • Auffällig viele Bewegungsvorgänge im Relevé. (hochgehobenes Zentrum, das durch die hoch angesetzten Beinlinien entsteht)
  • Neigung des Kopfes, meist leicht nach vor geneigt und leicht (1/8) gedreht.

Compositional Specifity:


Der Tanz als Bewegungsphänomen, Wesen und Werden

Dorothee Günther

  • Einzelvollzug

Freier Rhythmus als Einzelvollzug wird von einer einmaligen, nicht in zeitlich gebundener Wiederkehr wiederholten, Gebärde und Geste getragen. (Günther 72)

[…] Der freie Rhythmus hingegen schließt seine absteigende Phase bewußt ab. […] Die Gebörde fließt also sozusagen ‚ungesehen’ in sich zurück. (73)

  • Repulsierende Phase

Der gebundene Rhythmus, also der in einer Abfolge von ähnlichen verlaufende, bringt ein Bewegungsthema oder Motiv in der Reihung als Wiederkehr. Und zwar so, daß die Endphase des Themas schon eine Wiederholung oder die abgewandelte Grundform der Wiederholung vorbereitet und somit organisch in die folgende überleitet. Und solche Reihung ist die den ursprünglichen Tanz beherrschende Gestalt. (72)

Kontinuierlicher rhythmischer Verlauf kann aber nie aus einer Aneinanderreihung beliebiger Einzelrhythmen bestehen, die mit Übergangsbewegungen – also nebensächlichen Zwischenbewegungen gekoppelt werden. Er kann nur aus solchen Bewegungen erfolgen, die in der Endphase der einen schon wieder den Ausgang zur nächsten vorbereitet – ohne daß eine ‚überleitende’, also nicht zum Bewegungsthema gehörende Zwischenbewegung nötig wird. (73)

Dore Hoyer Project

In Cooperation with:

FAR – Fashion and Robotics. (University of Art and Design Linz in cooperation with the Johannes Kepler University Linz.

The cooperation consists of the realization of Motion Capture of a dance solo from a famous repertoire (“Angst” by Dore Hoyer)

The technology used was::

Vicon motion tracking with 6 infrared cameras Vero. The obtained data will be analyzed with the software Nexus (version 12).

Researchers involved:

Julio Andrés Escudero (FAR)

Damián Cortés Alberti, Adrián Artacho, Leonard Horstmayer

  •  Dance as an artistic practice is a multilayered phenomenon. It is a historically specific practice; it constitutes bodies; it depicts expression forms; it develops specific skills in bodies transgressing the dance’s realm. This project puts dance practices center stage to investigate the human body’s multilayeredness as place and source of agency,revealing their multi-layered manifestation in multiple layers of rendering.

Sample of raw date of motion capture:

  • Pelvis 1: Left Pelvis Front
  • Pelvis 2: Right Pelvis Front
  • Pelvis 3: Left Pelvis Back
  • Pelvis 4: Right Pelvis Back
  • LeftLeg2: Left Knee
  • LeftLowerLeg2: Left Ancle
  • RightLeg2: Right Knee
  • RightLowerLeg2: Right Ancle
  • Thorax1: Sternon up
  • Thorax2: Sternon down
  • Thorax3: Left Shoulder
  • Thorax4: Right Shoulder
  • Thorax6: Back, Right Side
  • LeftArm2: Left Elbow
  • LeftArm3: Middle Left Upper Arm
  • LeftLowerArm2: Left Wrist
  • RightArm2: Right Elbow
  • RightArm3: Middle Right Upper Arm
  • RightLowerArm2: Right Wrist
  • Head1: Left Forehead 
  • Head3: Left Head Back
  • Head4: Right Head Back

Sample of cluster notations: 

 Experimental notation resulted from the analysis of the motion capture. 

Collision as method for in-the-moment artistic co-creation

In this brief talk we present the results of applying our specific collaboration methodology, one year into the artistic research project ‘Atlas of Smooth Spaces’, whose object of research is the space that is created around performers, shaped through performers and accessed by performers.

Where: SAR Conference 2023. Trondheim, Norway

When: 2023-04-19, 10:00h

Who: Leonhard Horstmeyer, Mariia Shurkhal

Read more “Collision as method for in-the-moment artistic co-creation”

Desire Machine Lab Score

Application of the Assemlage Flow- Interaction Concept to a Dance Score.

Maria has tried to create a dance score that translates the concept of flow and interaction – the desiring machine into the movement. In order to do so, she addressed the anatomical categorisation of the movement range of the human joints:

The joins of the skeleton define the motion of the body and its limitations. Maria has developed a score based on the synovial joints and the type of movements and limitations they allow.

Image Source: Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site., Jun 19, 2013.

T/D stands for Territorialisation and Deterritorialisation (see here)


The score was developed in a frame of a residency at Schiede Hallein in September 2022. The work was presented in an experiemental format during the final showing of the residency and resieved positive feedback from the audience.

Movement and Computing Conference (MOCO’22)

MOCO is an interdisciplinary conference that explores the use of computational technology to support and understand human movement practice (e.g. computational analysis) as well as movement as a means of interacting with computers (e.g. movement interfaces). This requires a wide range of computational tasks including modeling, representation, segmentation, recognition, classification, or generation of movement information but also an interdisciplinary understanding of movement that ranges from biomechanics to embodied cognition and the phenomenology of bodily experience.

The 8th International Conference on Movement and Computing Conference took place 22-24 June 2022 in Chicago, Illinois (USA). Adrián Artacho and Leonhard Horstmeyer presented the SmoothOperator: A Device for characterizing Smoothness in Body Movement.

Who: Adrián Artacho, Leonhard Horstmeyer, Maria Shurkhal