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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING 2001

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Subject:

interactive tropes

From:

Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Curating digital art - www.newmedia.sunderland.ac.uk/crumb/

Date:

Tue, 20 Nov 2001 12:23:36 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (65 lines)

It is correct to identify many different types of interactivity and to also
establish that there are many different reasons why artists engage with
their audience(s) via an interactive mode.

As an artist whose work has primarily engaged with interactive forms the
interactive character of a work is primarily concerned with the
viewer/reader. I do not mean here that it is to do with the viewer/work
physical action/reaction (although than can be part of it) but rather the
viewer's reading as both a personal and public (and thus multiple) process
(the reading and its associated processes is what is at issue).

By this I mean that when one interprets something one does so engaging with
many factors and dynamics beyond the confines of the thing, some personal
and some social...this is what is generally meant by the intertextual
nature of things. In this respect everything is interactive and non-linear
in so far as the reader renders it so.

Picasso in his cubist period (especially with analytical and synthetic
cubism) sought to represent things from multiple points of view. I have
always imagined that he did this because he was striving to find a means of
representing not the object in time/space (as is often suggested) but
rather what it might be like to be able to see things from multiple points
of view at the same time (eg: to be able to see things from the point of
view of multiple viewers and readers and thus to engage with questions of
identity as a personal and social ontological problematic - although this
can be seen as subsuming the time/space question into issues of
conciousness).

Clearly many artists other than Picasso, both before and after him, have
also sought to address this way of seeing the artifact and the reader
(engaging conciousness as a non-linear multiplicitous self). For me the
attraction of explicit interactive media (eg: the sort of thing we are all
struggling to define here on this list) is really no different than the
attraction of cubism must have been to Picasso or the metaphor of the
mirror to Velasquez or Vermeer. It is both a technique and metaphor
allowing the artist to engage in some manner with this view of the
fragmentary self and to explore and express aspects of a schizoid human
condition. It is not primarily to do with things like shared authorship or
game playing or such-like...although these Derridean themes can be subsumed
within the former thematic. Artists work with human conciousness and its
representations. Viewers seek their image, or something (dis)associated
with it, in the work of art. The success of a work depends on how people
see themselves in it.

I am writing here very much from the practitioners point of view. I am not
seeking to objectify my argument as a museologist would.

best



Simon Biggs

[log in to unmask]
http://www.littlepig.org.uk/
The Great Wall of China @ http://www.greatwall.org.uk/
Babel @ http://www.babel.uk.net/

Research Professor
Art and Design Research Centre
School of Cultural Studies
Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield, UK
http://www.shu.ac.uk/

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