A Question of Inheritance: The Problem of Interactivity in the Visual Arts

By Mark Cypher.

Published by The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The evolution of interactivity in the visual arts as beholden to the notion of the participant is well known. The participant provides a neat and historical narrative for the precursors of what we call interactive art. However, the focus on the singular participant, much like a deterministic focus on the technology, merely exacerbates many age-old technology and user binaries. This paper presents an alternative narrative that charts Systems art and cybernetics theory as precursors to a version of interactivity that attempts to move beyond such binaries. The hope is to move the focus away from singular, more taxonomic narratives that illustrate the quantitative value of inputs and outputs, so that we can begin to describe the greater co-dependencies in systems that afford the actual interaction.

Keywords: History of Interactivity, Participation, Visual Art, System Art, Cybernetics

The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts, Volume 9, Issue 2, February 2015, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 469.888KB).

Dr. Mark Cypher

Chair of Digital Media, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia