Tutorial 4 – paperworks

Date: 12th of June 2018

With Gareth Polmeer I spoke about the following subjects as part of my developing research paper:

RW: There are different types of Interactive Artworks to be distinguished. I am trying to get a better analytical framework about what interaction really is. What are interactive artworks? How could we engage with them?

Why do I have problems with seeing a painting as an interactive artwork? Or interactive artworks are interactive just because of use of the computer? This calls for my definition and understanding of interactivity.

GP: We interact with it, with a painting, we pick it up, but interactivity as you describe it has a particular function, a particular importance, it represents some kind of significant experience. In the 60’s the Fluxus artists asked how with a film you interact also, but in a more active way, than the passive way of taking in the narrative. In doing so they were looking for more engagement.

RW: Yes, I want to look at influences from Fluxus like Allan Kaprow and Social sculpture ideas of Beuys and see how they can inform contemporary Interactive Arts. Looking at potential social reflections and the equilibrium between audience and the artwork is fascinating.

GP: Paul Sharits famous for making these flicker films (Intensive viewing experience because of flashing effects), often colour projection works, colour experience interacting as spatial body temporal relation between viewer and work and the perception as well. Look into his writings.

GP: There is this essay by W.J.T. Mitchell, media theorist, ‘there are no visual media’. Part of the question raised is about what a visual experience is in relation to other kind of sensory experiences. Mitchell argues that all media are, from the standpoint of sensory modality, ‘mixed media’. In the same regard one can question interactivity. Everything with an Arduino or a sensor is haptic and interactive. If everything is interactive, nothing is interactive in a way.

It is redefining the terminology, in the precise sense how you understand interactivity as significant.


Interesting terminology that came by:

  • The active interactive
  • Searching what is a meaningful experience from the interaction, the interactive encounter. Meaningful is the value judgement part that is what is to be defined in a sense
  • Beuys from pedagogical point of view, is there more to gain from a social oriented narrative?
  • Experiental art – what can it mean?
  • IA as apparatus for social reflections


GP: Maybe glance also at Relational Aesthetics by Nicolas Bourriad about social impact of art works. 

About the process: it is better to have a longer draft and then see what is there, edit it back and prioritise later.

Send a draft abstract now that can help for a narrative into the research.


All overseeing I thought afterwards about “Interactivity” defined by:

Participation, as in taking part, and influencing in a certain way the outcome and thus experiencing the artwork.



Concept draft, texts, questions, remarks for the first tutorial with Gareth Polmeer

By applying ideas from Fluxus and Joseph Beuys’ Social Sculpture to the Interactive Arts, this paper explores enhanced reflective interactions and how these can transform the social impact of Interactive Artworks.

I am researching how interactions and experiences come across in interactive art and how interactive art can have more social impact by trying to improve the reflexive situations (which constitutes a kind of conscious self-awareness of the process of viewing an artwork [GP]). Learnings from Fluxus as playful attitude and Social Sculpture in which both the audience are part of the conscious act may lead to ideas for interactive storytelling of some kind.

When overseeing the field of Interactive Arts, one might come to the conclusion that interactivity mostly means play. The reflective part of interactive arts seems to be less of emphasis.

Maybe that is why RLH (Rafael Lozano-Hemmer) talks about relational / relationship based.

What is play and what is reflection? Can both be at the same time: flow and reflection, or is it either flow or reflection (or in cycles)? Kwastek locates the aesthetic experience of IA in the oscillation between flow and distancing, in the oscillation between action and reflection.

This study might also focus on the meaning of IA as an apparatus (Kwastek) for social reflections.

An analytical framework for interactivity, like the one from Jlium-Jhy Her, might be of interest. 5 instrumental characteristics are distinguished: Incentive , Transfer, Accessibility , Play, Challenge

What is an interactive experience? (Dewey)

What is recipients role? Fluxus was open for any audience and any accidents. Roles may differ hugely. What works best for them while in action? What works best for them to contemplate?

What is recipients behaviour? How is Available Time of the essence: building up several attention spans of IA exhibitions can be good curating strategy

How can ideas of social sculpturing inform or be applied to interactive arts ? (Ideas of Beuys and of Social Sculpture Research Unit Oxford)

How can ideas of Fluxus be applied to interactive arts ? (Considering Fluxus as an attitude to make simple, fun, intermediate art with found and everyday objects, sounds, images, and texts)