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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  October 2007

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING October 2007

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Subject:

Re: Exchange Pieces

From:

Lizzie Muller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Lizzie Muller <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 12 Oct 2007 16:47:08 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Hello all

To pick up on Sarah's questions about timing, feedback and momentum…

In my research with audiences I have noticed that many interactive
artworks I admire create a kind of experiential arc from engagement in
a work through to reflection on a work (or on the experience it
produces).  This is a sort of paradoxical double movement in which
participants are simultaneously pulled deeper into a feedback loop
with the work, and at the same time afforded a contemplative distance
from the immersion of interaction.

Timing is of course important in this movement, but I have often found
that audiences confuse the speed of the artwork's response with other
factors such as complexity or indirectness of feedback.  Working with
a prototype of Gina Czarnecki's new interactive artwork Contagion,
participants frequently explained that one element (of three) reacted
more slowly than the other two – and as a result was less engaging.
In fact that element reacted with exactly the same speed, but with
much more subtle effects. The task of establishing engagement (what
Melissa and Kelsey and might call the "invitation") is not necessarily
only a question of how quickly something responds but how strongly the
audiences perceives cause and effect (or perhaps action and
consequence) in their relationship with the work.   The question of
sustaining engagement, or allowing the movement from "engagement" to
"reflection" requires this relationship to develop in complexity – and
perhaps to begin to rupture and behave in unexpected ways.  Creating
such an unfolding trajectory of feedback possibilities (as an artist,
curator or designer) is, I think, a form of designing FOR experience,
rather than the more closed notion of "designing experience" (to pick
up a little on Danny's points).

Here in Montreal I've been looking at the audience experience of Giver
of Names by David Rokeby (an artist who explicitly states that he
"constructs experiences").  It's an interesting example as Rokeby has
specifically designed the timing of the work to allow the human
participant to perceive the processes of analysis and recognition
performed by the computer (as it recognizes and "describes" objects
placed on a plinth by the participant).  In other words he has made
the feedback of the system artificially slow in order for all its
underlying elements to manifest noticeably in the audience's
experience. A strategy which stymies impatient or inattentive
interaction, and rewards more methodical and watchful engagement.

best,
Lizzie

-- 
Lizzie Muller
Curator.Writer.Researcher
[log in to unmask]
Montreal Mobile Sep-Dec 2007: +514 885 8647

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