Art patrons of past centuries probably never imagined an art in which one could touch a painting in order to change it according to taste and curiosity. Mona Lisa as a blond? The machine age and the computer, however, have shaken... [more]
Art patrons of past centuries probably never imagined an art in which one could touch a painting in order to change it according to taste and curiosity. Mona Lisa as a blond? The machine age and the computer, however, have shaken off the necessity of structure and passivity, enabling the viewer to become participatory, even collaborative.
Interactivity allows the viewer to step into Picasso's boots -- it implicates the spectator in the creative process. Indeed, the "interaction" of the present can be viewed as a natural evolution of the "participation" of the past. Marcel Duchamp created one of the earliest Interactive Installations with his Rotary Glass Plates, which required the viewer to turn on the optical machine, then stand one meter away. But while participation usually meant following an agenda set by the artist (such as the Happenings of the '60s), interaction by its nature implies a two-way interplay between an individual and an artificial intelligence system -- a sort of egalitarian easel. There can be a finite set of choices and results, or there can be an exhilarating potential for limitless outcomes, dictated by the whim of the spectator.
Interactive installation artists such as Americans Lynn Hershman-Neeson or Ken Feingold, the Japanese artist Masaki Fujihata, and Germans Bernd Lintermann and Torsten Belschner, to name a few, positively encourage viewers to create their own narratives or associations with their interactive works, designing them with this purpose -- and challenging notions of authorship. The Internet, the prime venue for Interactive Installations, enables such an art form to be democratic and increasingly more global. Web-art pioneers hail from every corner of the earth, with Ars Electronica from Austria, the Center for Art and Media from Germany, the Walker Art Center's adaweb, and the ephemeral, enigmatic jodi.org. The next step? As media arts expert Timothy Druckrey asserts, "If images are to become increasingly experimental, then a theory of representation must be evolved to account for the transaction provoked by participation". [show less]