tom moody

tom moody's weblog
(2001 - 2007)

tommoody.us (2004 - )

2001-2007 archive

main site

faq

digital media tree (or "home" below)


RSS / validator



BLOG in gallery / AFC / artCal / furtherfield on BLOG

room sized animated GIFs / pics

geeks in the gallery / 2 / 3

fuzzy logic

and/or gallery / pics / 2

rhizome interview / illustrated

ny arts interview / illustrated

visit my cubicle

blogging & the arts panel

my dorkbot talk / notes

infinite fill show


music

video




Links:

coalition casualties

civilian casualties

iraq today / older

mccain defends bush's iraq strategy

eyebeam reBlog

hullabaloo

tyndall report

aron namenwirth

bloggy / artCal

james wagner

what really happened

stinkoman

antiwar.com

cory arcangel / at del.icio.us

juan cole

a a attanasio

rhizome.org

three rivers online

unknown news

eschaton

prereview

edward b. rackley

travelers diagram at del.icio.us

atomic cinema

lovid

cpb::softinfo :: blog

vertexList

paper rad / info

nastynets now

the memory hole

de palma a la mod

aaron in japan

NEWSgrist

chris ashley

comiclopedia

discogs

counterpunch

9/11 timeline

tedg on film

art is for the people

x-eleven

jim woodring

stephen hendee

steve gilliard

mellon writes again

eyekhan

adrien75 / 757

disco-nnect

WFMU's Beware of the Blog

travis hallenbeck

paul slocum

guthrie lonergan / at del.icio.us

tom moody


View current page
...more recent posts



Mailbox

Hey Tom,
I've been thinking about interactivity in art lately, which I think is a bit of a divider into two camps of new media artists. Seems like most of the artists I'm into don't use interactivity that much. But there are some artists who always do and almost seem to consider "interactive" and "new media" to be synonymous. But a lot of the interactive stuff I see, I don't totally get why it's interactive. Seems like if it is interactive, there should be some really compelling reason to make it so, and the interface is extremely important. Otherwise it starts to feel like it fits better in the Museum of Science and History than the art museum.

My main question is: where do I look for a history of interactive art? Any particular artists to check out? Surely there was interactive work before computers, and maybe even an early interactive "movement"? Or maybe it is relatively new? --PS


Dear PS,
"Interactive" is one of those buzzwords like "multidisciplinary" that grant panels love. I've always been critical of art that feels like it belongs in the Exploratorium. (Until 20 years later, when it becomes great kitsch.) Agreed, some (most?) new media artists require interactivity, no matter how dumb or pointless, for admittance to the Club. One computer gallerist calls me a Modernist because I believe in "stand alone" art. It's not so much a belief system as feeling that certain things are right for certain venues. I'll sit at home and click a mouse surfing for hours but resent it when someone puts a mouse on a ledge in a gallery and expects me to start navigating something to "get" the art. The gallery is better for a "heads up," moving around experience, movies are better for long narratives, and your computer at home is best for "net art." The art should fit the physical environment and the expectations of that environment.

Historically interactivity started in the '60s with kinetic art and holography, and the "anti-object" ideas of conceptualism. Michael Fried's famous essay "Art and Objecthood" was one of the first to identify what he called "theatricality" in art. But there's a big difference between the theatricality of moving around a Minimalist sculpture and thinking about how your body and the room define the experience--which was a good thing to learn--and the obligatory joystick with a sign that says "Join me in 'making' the art according to 7 preset menu choices!" After the '60s, computer science departments started grafting half-baked versions of conceptualist and minimalist concepts onto the emerging net art and robotics art fields. Thus, what we have today. I try to be open about stuff, but always ask "What purpose does this interactivity serve?"
--Tom

(I dodged the question about specific artists practicing interactivity--any contributions to an etymology of the term would be welcome.)

- tom moody 3-05-2006 3:06 am [link]