October 8, 2009

jane powers: Comments on Huhtamo Article

I would like to counter Erkki Huhtamo's third misunderstanding, in his article, "Seven Ways of Misunderstanding Interactive Art", in terms of two interactive art works: Alexitimia, made by Paula Gaetano Adi and Translator II: Grower made by Sabrina Raaf. In his third misunderstanding, he contends that "interactive artists are content with technological trickery" and that there "is no significant difference between and interactive artwork and a well-made video game". Additionally, he comments, " An artwork requires something else, a kind of surplus of inspiration and signification which will transcend the rational assembly of the "machine parts", melt them together and give them a raison d'ĂȘtre on a higher level of abstraction."

Alexitimia, the title, is a term that refers to an emotional cognitive deficit, the inability to know what emotions signify and consequently the inability to verbalize them. Emotions do get expressed through the body. Gaetano's, Alexitimia is a high-tech machine covered in soft/pliable simulated skin. When the participant touches, its "skin", the "skin" begins to "sweat". The tactility of the simulated skin and the ooze of the "sweat", seeming would conflate the participant's mind and body. There is no prescribed outcome, rather the participant's experience is personal and sensorial, and would be felt, as Huhtamo asks, as "transcending the rational assembly of the 'machine parts'.



Translator II: Grower is a small high-tech robotic 'rover' vehicle, which navigates around the periphery of a room hugging the wall and "responding" to the carbon dioxide levels in the air by drawing varying heights of "grass" on the walls in green ink. Grower senses CO2 levels via a digital CO2 sensor. The number of people in the room affects the CO2 level. Grower seemly works on both a conceptual and sense perception level, thus on Huhtamo's request for a "higher level of abstraction". The participant(s) in the room are given a visual image of the consequence of our mostly invisible breath. In the room he/she/they can grasp that breath has a substance that can affect other life forms positively and be brought to noticing/experiencing his/her/their breath. This robotic rover "transcends" to metaphoric space.

Translator II: Grower

Grower image.jpg

September 22, 2009

Elisa Berry - Seven Misconceptions

Seven Misconceptions:

I resonate with the criticisms that interactive art can be gimmicky. As a not-new phenomenon, interactive art can be beyond gimmicks. The interactivity itself should not be the subject of a work, but should be used in service to the conceptual and formal aims of the artist. Interactive art can help us reflect in ever new ways on the meaning of our experience.
I also resonate with the critique that interactive art replaces real human-to-human interactivity with individual-to-machine. While interactive technology such as facebook or youtube have in some ways subverted and damaged real human material interactions, there are other ways in which those tools have facilitated human interaction - by connecting people, for one thing, as well as by helping people interact by sharing information with one another. Works of art in museums are often meant to be contemplated and experienced by individual viewers. Thinking and experiencing done individually is a necessary part of human existence. Interactive art can remind us that personal experiences of art cab be moments of reciprocal communication between the viewer and the art. Artwork should also remind the viewer that she is not experiencing art outside of the particularity of an historical context. The work is situated within a network of texts and events. In what way can interactive art continue to remind the individual or collective viewer(s) that neither it nor they exist autonomously, outside of history?

Reflection on Interface in Interactive Art

Tyler Williams

1. While reading the article it seemed as though narrative plays a very limited role in the initial experiments with Interface in Interactive Art. The Projects and most of these were games or spaces that were commenting on the interaction between system and player. They seemed to ignore narrative and focus on a virtual reality commenting on technology while at the same time utilizing technology. Myron Krueger's 1969 glowfloor installation was more about the interaction between viewer and the space and there was little to no focus on narration or story. In 1986, Grahame Weinbren produced an interactive installation that used a non linear narrative giving the viewer access to a series of image. Although this is an example of some form of narrative, traditional narrative seems to be absent from interface art.
3. I think there are endless modes of interaction that could be explored in the future. I can imagine that the internet will play a larger role in interface interaction. I could see the use of video and LCD moniters playing a larger role as well. I think that there seems to be an absence of traditional narrative in these interactions so if there was a way to create an installation that the viewer was actively in control of the outcome of a traditional narrative that could be interesting.

Interactive Art reflection

The article "Seven Ways of Misunderstanding Interactive Art" by Erkki Huhtamo is essentially a list of pre-conceived notions related to the emergence of interactive art as an art form. Some of the key points he brings up are that interactive art is no different than modern day advanced gaming or some other interactive application; that there is no real place for interactive art in a museum, just merely science fairs and gadget promos.
Well, in a realistic sense, this may seem true to the majority of the world. For interactive art to truly be taken seriously in the art world and for it not to be only seen as new-age conceptual gaming or something, it needs to be experienced by those who critique it. The very essence of this new art form is the relationship between the interactivity of the piece and the viewer who is experiencing it. The messages conveyed should be individualistic and meant for the viewer to interpret them how they see/feel/smell/interact.
Another criticism is that interactive art doesn't truly give the "interactivity" to the user. The article says that there are merely a few pre-existing/pre-programmed experiences for the user to choose from and there is little "interactiveness" involved. While at face value it may be easy just to assume that technology has only come "so far" and cannot allow literal endless possibilities, the possibility of giving a wide array of interaction does probably exist. Just as the most exquisite paintings exist and the most detailed drawings exists, there are millions of "sub-par" pieces. There are just simply different degrees of interactivity in the realm of interactive art. It cannot all be the most advanced experience of technology art and interactivity.

...Just to name a few things.

-Nick Gentle

elizabeth furani + history of interface 9/22

2) What is the relationship between our senses and the interface?

Power and Play
Participation versus Interaction
Proximity and Manipulation
Strategies of Seduction
Remembering, Forgetting, and Reconstructing

these were the various themes brought up in dinkla's article. play is used as a multi-sensory experience where we have to strategize. participation with much of the interactive art listed throughout history have involved not only our sight but our hearing and touch. these allow us to explore our surroundings and communicate with one another. participatory experiences we have because we recall them in our memory through mementos of sight and sound or taste. one artist that i wanted to bring up in example of this was A-Volve by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau. they used hand movements and touch to create interaction between the viewer and the sea creatures. each one had specific aspects or characteristics and each viewer could have more control of the outcome. in a lot of ways the interface is purely multisensory because it is creative. and the creative process involves awareness of psychological, emotional, sensations, and experience.

#3 What future modes of interaction can you imagine?

i can imagine video cameras projecting people's bodies onto a sculpture that has no gender or real definition to it, and having sound involved in this the person/sculpture could interact with others and people could have conversations with this sort of living thing. that is one mode of interaction i can envision, where we are not just talking to computers but we are talking to humans through computers in real time not just from computer to computer but from video to person to person.

elizabeth furani +interactive art 9/28

erikki huhtamo's "Seven Ways of Misunderstanding Interactive Art" was quite an eye opener for me. in my coming into this class i thought that a lot of interactive art was purely utilizing a high tech base and that you had to mostly be a scientist to create it. i also was under the impression of it being a very masculine medium because a lot of IT things are very strong in terms of men, but sparse when women are concerned. i guess in a lot of ways i have restricted it to a medium that was new, and very rigid. however i think reading this article helped me get a glimpse that media making and interactive mediums need to understand the human condition... and connect with people, not just the ones who merely know all about it. that would exclude me as i am not well versed in a lot of interactive pieces, only through my video art have i been able to create a bond between human emotion and synthesis. this is something i'm interested in.

Robin Schwartzman

What I found most interesting in Hutamo's essay was point number five, in which he argues against the idea that interactive art can be more than just pointing and clicking into a series of pre-programmed alternatives. I really enjoy how he states, "I don't think the amount of interactivity should (always) be the main criterium when judging interactive art." I would have to agree with this statement, not just when it is applied to interactive art, but any medium. I feel that this statement goes with any skill or trade versus a work of art. For example, printmaking used as part of a gallery installation should not be printmaker's sole premise for evaluating whether the amount is a good use of the medium. He goes on to mention how some artists even terrorize the medium to deceive the user, which seems like an effective way to get across certain ideas that could otherwise not be communicated. Even by appropriating older works into new experiences and more complex situations, the artist takes away predictability and limitation. However, despite the opinion that interactivity doesn't always need to be the most important factor of the piece, Hutamo doesn't forget to mention that interactivity IS crucial when judging an industrial application, which makes sense for something with a more utilitarian purpose.

September 21, 2009

Seven Ways of Misunderstanding Interactive Art

Read Erkki Hutamo's essay, Seven Ways of Misunderstanding Interactive Art.

Write and post [category Reflections] a 1 paragraph reflection that discusses you view of interactive art with a focus on one or more of the seven misunderstandings that Erkki Hutamo discusses.