Thecla Schiphorst is Associate Director and Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Her background in dance and computing form the basis for her research in embodied interaction, focusing on movement knowledge representation, tangible and wearable technologies, media and digital art, and the aesthetics of interaction. Her research goal is to expand the practical application of embodied theory within Human Computer Interaction. She is a member of the original design team that developed Life Forms, the computer compositional tool for choreography, and collaborated with Merce Cunningham from 1990 to 2005 supporting his creation of new dance with the computer. Thecla has an Interdisciplinary MA under special arrangements in Computing Science and Dance from Simon Fraser University (1993), and a Ph.D. (2008) from the School of Computing at the University of Plymouth.
Thecla Schiphorst is the recipient of the 1998 PetroCanada Award in New Media, a biennial award presented to a Canadian Artist for their contribution to innovation in art & technology in Canada. Her media art installations have been exhibited internationally in Europe, Canada, the United States and Asia in many venues including Ars Electronica, the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival (DEAF), Future Physical, Siggraph, the Wexner Centre for the Arts, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and the London ICA. She has published numerous essays and articles, and her lectures focus primarily on body and technology in the visual and performing arts. She has served on numerous juries, including Siggraph, Images du Futur and the Canada Council for the Arts. She has been a Board Member of ISEA '98, and the co-chair of the Second Annual Conference on Dance and Technology.
Her work focuses on notions of the body, the relationship between the statistical and non-statistical representations of the body. Her work questions the way technology mediates the representation and experience of the body, and by extension, the representation and experience of space and time. Using her formal education in computing science and contemporary dance as a base, her work attempts to integrate models of scientific representation with the experience of the physical body. It also aims to subvert the 'visual/objective' relationship often attributed to the act of seeing. Her work confronts views of interactivity and questions basic technological mapping. It invites relationship interaction through an experience grounded in proprioceptive knowledge.
Thecla Schiphorst leads the whisper[s] research group an acronym for: wearable, handheld, intimate, sensory, personal, expressive, responsive systems, and is the Director of MovingStories: Digital Tools for Movement, Meaning and Interaction, a SSHRC funded International Institutional Research Partnership. (2015)