The Art of Interaction: Interactivity, Performativity, and Computers Summary


In The Art of Interaction: Interactivity, Performativity, and Computers, Satlz discusses emerging questions about whether interactive technology is indeed new or simply art with technology tacked on.  As a paper witten at most in 1997, hypertext and virtual reality are hot topics and mentioned throughout.

Performative technology and art requires:

  1. A sensing or input device translates certain aspects of a person’s behavior into a digital form that a computer can understand.
  2. The computer outputs data that are systematically related to the input (i.e. the input affects the output).
  3. The output data are translated back into real world phenomena that people can percieve.

But these components might be applied to all interactivity.  Saltz uses hypertext to distinguish interactivity from interactive performances. Web browsing is about attention on a work rather than the user in the work.  Virtual reality invites and requires an amount of imagination for a viewer to be immersed in virtual world.  This contrast between interactions in a web browser and a virtual reality environment highlights the components of  performative interaction.

The aesthetic understandings of virtual reality are about the realities they portray rather than the pixels used to “see” them.  Saltz says we can draw these conclusions,

  1. Some but not all participatory interactions are performative.
  2. Participatory interaction is performitive when the interation is an aestheitc object.

Improve performances contain elements of randomness.  Saltz concludes by mentioning that computer performers do not suffer from the fatigue an non-neutrality common to human actors.  This always ready state is useful for creating interactive performances for interactive spectators.

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