What is 'interactive' anyways?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : STREAMING MEDIA ART : One Thread

Everything is "interactive" these days. Websites are interactive because the user is supposedly engaged and highly entertained by clicking their mouse button at different places on the screen (Should I use the right or left button in this case? How exciting!) Anyways, I find the term "interactive" to be an overused cliche in this e-ified world, however, the concept of art being truly "interactive", participatory, artist & audience both actively engaged in the act of creation, etc. is very very interesting.

My real question(s) to pose to you all:

What kind of electronic art (on or off the web) you have seen that you truly consider to be "interactive"?

What COULD "interactive" mean? Could streaming media ever be interactive? Could digital video ever be interactive? Do you value the concept of "interactivity"?

Thanks in advance for any replies! Catherine

-- Catherine D'Ignazio (catied@cinteractive.com), September 11, 2000


I agree with you Catherine. Interactivity in art, is more than clicking buttons or touchsensors; it is transforming the viewer into a participant, engaging them intellectually, spiritually, emotionally or perceptually in an artists' work.

The technology in its infancy and many artists still do not have access to it. There are some pioneers such as Lynn Hershman, Perry Hoberman and Graham Weinbren who have done some exciting interactive works. There are many younger artists who are creating some very exciting possibilities for the future.

I look forward to the time when we can have streaming interactive video on line with alternative sub plots, user participation and alternative directions. Perhaps instead of being one artist vision at one time, many creative pathways can be created or possibly a creative team can construct or deconstruct a work. The more ubiquitous the technology, hopefully, the more access artists will have. Let us hope, however, that the web does not go the full commercial route that television has gone.

-- Kathleen Ruiz (ruiz@rpi.edu), September 12, 2000.

I agree that the word "interactive" is inadequate. It is better suited to the emerging commercial broadband world -- "its Interactive!" -- than the world of art. Rather than making art more "interactive", new technologies challenge the "fixed" nature of a work of art, allowing it to be mutable to a greater or lesser degree determined by the artist. The scope of a work, who and how its audience participates in it will vary. This isn't necessarily new, but the technology offers a quantum leap in this capacity.

-- Kevin Duggan (kmduggan@aol.com), September 18, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ