The Interactive Paradigm – Journal 5, 09.28.16

Class Readings

Why is interface design important in interactive art systems?

“An Abstract Model of Instrument Control” by Nate Aldrich

“The History of the Interface in Interactive Art” by Soke Dinkla

“The Interface” by Lev Manovich


Why would artists create an interactive work?

“The History of Electronic Music as a Reflection of Structural Paradigms” by Joel Chadabe

“Interaction” by Caitlin Rubin

“The Myth of Interactivity” by Lev Manovich

“Healing Interactions and Interactive Digital Art” by Barbara Buckner


Link to Notes on the Readings


Class Overview, Part 1: Random Rambling, Bitching, Moaning and Talking too Much

I was somewhat prepared for class. I was lucky that I read ahead of time. I got sick last week on Wednesday. I could barely pay attention in the last class. I stayed sick until Sunday. I spent Sunday and Monday trying to catch up, but that left me less prepared than I would have liked. I had already read everything so that helped, but I did not have good notes on my work or any prepared questions.


I wrote my essay, kind of. That is to say, I wrote about 2000 words of nonsense. I did not have time to review it Tuesday. Then Wednesday I tried to do it after class, but I was so tired. I finally just gave up and decided it was worth the loss of 5 points to go to bed. I would have been embarrassed to turn in what I had. It really didn’t say anything. I think it is on the way to saying something. I have been reviewing it today. There is some interesting stuff in the brainstorm. I just need to keep going until I have something worth saying. If Nate doesn’t accept the work, that’s Ok with me. I would rather do it and learn than be embarrassed to hand in something , plus -not- learn anything in the process.


I just finished reviewing the first three sections of the readings. I added more notes to the 3rd section because I didn’t feel I understood enough. I did more research. I revised the second and third essay. I added to my brainstorm. I reviewed the questions I sent Nate a couple of weeks ago. Now I just need to take a day and review the last section of reading. Then I think I will be back on track.


As a note to self: I have a few class notes on my other computer that I have not put on One Drive. I need to get them and put them all in their respective journals!


Class Overview, Part 2: Actual Useful information

There was a brief discussion defining digital media, which I stupidly did not write down because my computer was closed. We were talking about narratives. This was useful because I was thinking of digital media imprecisely. I said something about Film as digital media. Needless to say, he corrected me. Film is film because it is made with film. Cinema can be a narrative that is made using digital media but that does not make it film.


Personal Note: I need to ask Nate to help me clarify this definition again.


Notes & Research

Why is interface design important in interactive art systems?

“The History of the Interface in Interactive Art” by Söke Dinkla

Short Biography of Söke Dinkla  

This has links to additional biographical information as well as other academic work.


“Virtual Narrations: From the crisis of storytelling to new narration as mental potentiality” by Söke Dinkla

This text distracted me. We have discussed the ideas in class so it is applicable but it is a little off-topic from my planned research today.

The paper primarily focuses on the  potential of new narrative strategies that have been created by the internet and other new media.  Is it reflective of the past or is it new? The paper begins with historical conditions and functional changes in the literary narrative, focused on James Joyce (AGGGGG. Someday I will manage to read Joyce and like it. I just need the right state of mind.) Then it move son to the transformation of interactive and web based art in the 1980s and 1990s. Then it moves on to a study of the aesthetic methodology and how it reformulates understanding of reality across diverse media.

Critique of realism

“Early modern authors don’t follow traditional linear patterns.

* «De-fableizing»: This is the word Jakob Wassermann uses to describe the process of prying stories free from chains of cause-and-effect. Instead, the stories concentrate on mere happening, a sequence of states.

* Simultaneity: Major novels of the twentieth century depict the simultaneous, fragmented, disparate presence of heterogeneous elements in modern (urban) life.

* Detail: In modern narrative one can find detailed descriptions of everyday objects that are seemingly superfluous to the logics of narrative plot development (for example, in the writing of Alain Robbe-Grillet, founder of the «nouveau roman»).

* Authorship: Authorship itself becomes a theme of the narrative, in some cases by linking biography and work (for example, Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, Peter Handke).”

Joyce and the narrative principle of ‹networking›

“Telling a story is now no longer merely the depiction of the course of real or imagined events, based on a sender-receiver model, but becomes with Joyce an act of intercommunication”

Personal Note: Interesting word “intercommunication” compare it to interactivity, communication, etc. Make chart

The Rhizome—metaphor for hypertextual narratives

“metaphor of the rhizome conceived by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in 1977. They write: «The rhizome itself can take on the most diverse forms, either branching out and spreading in every possible direction across the surface, or condensing itself into bulbs or knots. … Any given point of the rhizome can and must be connected with every other point.»”

computer made interactivity possible

Cybernetics as narrative principle

“cybernetic feedback system, in which every (re)action leads to a corresponding re(action), to suspend causality and to conspire against any kind of narrative linearity (p 2)”

Dialogue experiments in the cinema, theater and television

“Interactive films such as «Mörderische Entscheidung» by Oliver Hirschbiegel, a crime story that was broadcast in 1992 simultaneously on ARD and ZDF, work with narrative strategies using dialogue, focusing less on ambiguities than on new forms of involving the viewer.” (p 3)

Personal Note: look up Films later

Viewers of Cinema using colored disks to signal changes in what happens on the screen

Personal Note: Is this really interaction? This doesn’t seem to fit with eth class definition requiring “mutuality” because the viewer changes the film but the film doesn’t change the viewer

“The structure of works for interactive cinema, theater and television in both the 1960s–1970s and the 1990s were not designed in such a way that they could be successful at making a critical break with the stage as model of representation merely through the intervention of the audience”

Shared authorship, collective narrative forms

“What finally managed to accomplish this goal was the strategy of collective narrative forms, in use since the mid-1980s in telecommunications technologies and the computer as a way of destroying the principle of unique authorship.”

Discursive fields

“While these projects consciously make reference to the cultural practice of writing and storytelling, the Knowbotic Research group tries to avoid any borrowings from traditional representational systems.”

uncertainty. Reader no longer able to form concrete structure. Abstraction.

Cinematic non-linearity

“Knowbotic Research, with its assessment that only the negation of prior forms of representation —including prior forms of storytelling—could open the way for bringing forth something new, differs not only from artists such as Shaw, Weinbren, Seaman and Feingold, but also from those who quote narrative strategies in their video and film installations in order to deconstruct them, calling into question their potency at representing reality.”

Personal Note: Use of term “deconstruct”?

Paradoxical narrative structures

“In addition to the elevation of the perspective/s of the viewer, or more precisely, of the perceptual conditions to an essential theme of the work, time is another important means used in the media art of the 1980s and 1990s to deconstruct narratives”

Time is non-linear, deconstructed. Events happen simultaneously or out of order, time perception not concrete

Deconstruction of narrations

“As artists take up the narrative parameter of time in the media art of the 1980s and 1990s, both acceleration and slowness play special roles.”

Narrative fragments. Characters exist on their own outside narrative.

Activation of memory

“In this procedure of using historic narrative fragments, there is an intellectual proximity between the works of Stan Douglas and those of Jeffrey Shaw. Historical elements serve both artists not as references to the story they tell, but for their function for us as a cultural form of communication. They show less what they mean to us than what they can no longer mean for us. Or they evoke a meaning that is suppressed today and that is no longer possible.”

Deciphering cultural codes

“This form of narration, which sets the tone for the media art of the 1980s and 1990s, plays with our longing to decipher codes and create coherence.”

iconography no longer valid but shared cultural understandings of how things work are possible

The mobile viewer

Viewer moves within the whole. No sense of stable concrete placement

Critique of the major narrative blueprints of the modern era

myths and unrealized utopias



Narration as a connective system

“While attitudes, concepts and motifs in the web art and interactive art of the 1980s has much in common with the video art of the 1990s, they differ in one important aspect: their choice of medium.”

Medium is the message

choice of medium is aesthetic

  1. computer = optimism

“The hypertextual storytelling technique that has been widespread since the 1980s is motivated primarily by the fact that the artists are not interested in representing reality, but rather in generating reality. The new dimensions of the real that emerge thereby are not fixed but in motion and can continually change their constellations. A space ripe with possibilities opens up—a space for playing with potential, with virtual narrations”

The Harvard Crimson, A Decade of Decadence

This is a discussion of Art in the 70s. I needed it to understand a reference in the Söke Dinkla  article about Narration. I am recording it for future reference because it was interesting.

AND Back to…

“The History of the Interface in Interactive Art” by Söke Dinkla

Siggraph Computer Trade Show

Myron Krueger Glowflow

Videoplace, 1985

video standalone

Videoplace, 1989

Video contains narration.

Myron Krueger’s Critter


Points of View, Shaw, Amsterdam 1983

Dialogue not English, view only. 80s music (snicker)

David Rokeby, Very Nervous System

Lynn Hershman, Selected Works

Includes Lorna, Deep Contact and A Room of One’s Own as well as other works.

Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau: A-Volve, 1994-97

An artificial life environment that can be affected by people from outside. It is very pretty! The creatures live, die, reproduce etc.

“The Interface” by Lev Manovich

1984 Macintosh Commercial

Personal Note: I used to have students analyze this. Look for lesson plan.

Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis = Eskimo Words for Snow, Lots of talk in education classes

MIT Press, Book Description: The Language of New Media by Lev Manovich

Lev Manovich Homepage

Lev Manovich’s 5 Principles of New Media in 2 Minutes


The Original Xanadu Project

Digplanet, The Antirom Group

Visual Complexity, Webstalker Browser

About Netomat Browser

I found both Webstalker and Netomat a little confusing. I see why it is interesting to imagine a new way of organizing web data. There are some good things that can come from it. I like the Webstalker visualizations of data. However, I would like it better if mixed in with traditional browser system. It would be nice to be able to click a button and see a visualization of the dataflow on a page. That would help with research and understanding connected information. The Netomat flow of information was less helpful since it was hard to view connections between ideas.

Joachim Sauter Homepage

Tamas Waliczky Homepage

Remediation, Understanding New Media, Summary on MIT Press


Why would artists create an interactive work?

“The History of Electronic Music as a Reflection of Structural Paradigms” by Joel Chadabe

Joel Chadabe Homepage

Joel Chadabe, An Ear to Earth

Interview with Joel Chadabe. Creative and cultural potential of the development of new technology. Recording environment. Making music and sound art out of environment. Documentation of sound. Feeling of what things are like. Images are specific. Sounds give a sense of a place. Very immediate.

Electronic Sound by Joel Chadabe

Guitar with fuzz. Rhythm. Something going on behind it. What is the hissing sound? I don’t like that.

Electronic Sound by Joel Chadabe

Electronic Sound by Joel Chadabe

Doesn’t sound that different.


The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives

Quiet, inoffensive. So I am not immediately frustrated by it. That is nice. It is called “The Unanswered Question” so I think I am supposed to understand it as a question but I am not sure I get that. I like the sounds that sound like they are behind the horns. Is that a violin? It sounds like two separate things laid on top of each other. It suddenly speeds up every now and again. That could be a question, more like something is sneaking up on something else and the something else is trying to hide again very fast. Then it goes back to being peaceful again. It doesn’t have a roaring end. It just fades out. That is weird. I guess that is the unanswered part? It sounds incomplete. Yea me! I have an opinion.


Note: I always liked that Peter and the Wolf cartoon. That is neato Intermedia!

Chuck Jones, Peter and the Wolf – Full TV Special


Brass Orrery of the Inner Solar System with Orbiting Moons


Museum of Modern Art, The Reservoir

Denis Smalley, The Pulses of Time

Denis Smalley, Valley Flow

Trevor Wishart, Red Bird: A political Prisoners Dream

John Cage, Music of Changes 1951

This is extremely annoying. It sounds completely random and without purpose. Ok, so I get that is kind of the point. It is indeterminate. BUT… why? What is the point in that? We know that we can’t know everything in the universe and we know that it is random. Shouldn’t art be about more than just displaying that randomness? Shouldn’t we strive to find things in it? Pure chaos doesn’t have a lot of meaning. It exists. That’s great. But it is, by its nature, chaotic. You can’t really learn from it. You just have to accept it. I am ok with the idea that I can’t ever know it all. That is the beauty of an indeterminate universe. There is an infinite range of possibilities. Every time we figure something out there will be another deeper layer. That’s the wonderful part. This music doesn’t reflect that. It’s just noise and chaos. Is there something more? Is there some meaning behind the chaos? I just can’t hear it.


Bruno Spoerri – Les Electroniciens – 1971

Ok… well, there does seem to be structure here of some kind. It is buzzy sounding and a little frustrating. There is too much going on at once. And now there is a saw buzzing and a guitar. I kind of like that. It’s not so bad. Yep, this is pleasing enough. The sounds seem to be working together. I can see how this could represent interaction. I am not sure it is actually interactive but I have no idea how it was made. I am just listening.


“Interaction” by Caitlin Rubin

The Chicago School of Media Theory, Interaction

Note: Chicago Website is a useful resource for New Media terminology

This article does not support the strict interpretation of interactivity that we discussed in class. If it is true that interactive art can be created through ” perfomative interaction” then Amy Stacy Curtis -is- interactive.


“The Myth of Interactivity” by Lev Manovich

The Art Story, Futurism

Futurism Home Page

Futurism Manifestos

Art History, Dada

Museum of Modern Art, Dada

The ABCs of Dada, Part 1

The ABCs of Dada, Part 2

The ABCs of Dada, Part 3


“Healing Interactions and Interactive Digital Art” by Barbara Buckner

Video Databank, Barbara Buckner

“In my work I have been concerned with the spiritual consciousness of the individual and how one views one’s position in Eternity. In this work, I, as soul—an immortal and eternal physical essence—view some aspects of the physical life as a finite yet ever-changing phenomenon in space/time.”

An Interview with Barbara Buckner

Electronic Arts Intermix, Barbara Buckner