Hello to Juliette and everyone else on the panel,
A thank you to Juliette for organizing this important discussion and I look forward to reading everyone's contributions.
I had started a posting yesterday that I realized was threatening to turn into an essay requiring footnotes and citations. Fortunately (for me and you) I was interrupted by end-of-the academic year intrusions (grade challenges and a plagiarism case). In view of Juilette’s last posting, I decided to jettison what I had previously written and follow up on some threads that she addressed.
Also I find myself in agreement with a number of points that Bruce Wands made. The distinction between evolutionary and revolutionary is a useful conceptual tool to begin to sort through the cacophony and the sheer abundance and divergence of contemporary art practices and performative strategies now seen globally. If I understood correctly, Bruce identified interactivity, web-based art and locative media as revolutionary practices. Generative art is also a useful term that captures widespread practices in sound and visual forms.
Juliette quoted Bruce’s point that "it is difficult to pin down an exact definition of 'process-based art' because it is in the process of defining itself," Lurking within this observation is a reference to Walter Benjamin who wrote:
"One of the foremost tasks of art has always been the creation of a demand, which could be fully satisfied only later. The history of every art form shows critical epochs in which a certain art form aspires to effects which could be fully obtained only with a changed technical standard, that is to say, in a new art form." (as readers no doubt know this is from The Work of Art etc.)
Interactive techno art by definition promises or at least suggests more than it can really deliver. Perhaps this is a characteristic of “process-based art”?
Art works dependent on a technology of a specific historical moment create expectations that perhaps are never satisfied due to those technological limitations and inevitable obsolescence. This is also due in part to limits of time and human perceptual bandwidth. In other words the deeper and richer an interactive work is, the more likely the audience will ‘sample’ only a portion due to constraints of time and so called capacity limitations (chunking information) of human perception (thus a kind of perceptual sampling error or aliasing of the artwork as a whole).
At a further risk of further annoying everyone with theory I'd like to bring in Gadamer’s hermeneutics - specifically his notion of the fusion of horizons where the text (the art work) and viewer(listener/interpreter) are both embedded in a particular historic moment: when the artwork was created and later when the artwork is encountered. The fusion is a “belongingness” where the interpreter discovers points of entry and understanding and “meaning” is found in the interaction. So process-based art is an art of interaction, becoming and unfolding holding out a promise of more. The term horizon suggests the limits of apprehension and what is just out of sight. A process-based art defies a single, totalizing interpretation and is always incomplete in it's potential (a potential to be unfinished) and incompletely perceived.
Director, Game Design & Development, Quinnipiac University
Curator, Aesthetics of Gameplay [http://gameartshow.siggraph.org/gas/]
Occasional creator of interactive artwork