[ISEA2014] Paper: Matilda Asuzu – Applying Data Visualization to Cultural Study of the Salsa


This research investigation aims to experiment with forms of data visualization to uncover ways that they can be useful tools in studying the salsa dance and other cultural practices that involve body movements. The cultural phenomenon the investigation will examine is the complexity of the dance community surrounding the salsa. Of particular interest is the way dancers improvise new styles of a dance and the way those styles are adopted by one dancer from another. By visualizing motion data collected from salsa dancers, the investigation attempts to create a new way to study the cultural significance of gestures and movements. This technique may provide a supplemental perspective to the traditional participant‑observer method in cultural study.

  • Matilda Asuzu, University of Denver, US, is curious about cultural identities, how intercultural interactions morph them and the role of technology in these changes. She is hopeful about technology’s capacity for social change and realistically aware of its limitations in the face of human nature. Asuzu explores the social dynamics of culture and garners inspiration from her experiences of weaving together the cultures of her West African parents and that of American society.

Full text (PDF) p. 288-294