Critical Frictions, Connective Affinities: “Ideologies of Interactivity”


Session Title:

  • The Ideology of Interactivity: Freedom, Choice, Creativity

Presentation Title:

  • Critical Frictions, Connective Affinities: “Ideologies of Interactivity”



  • In this talk, I will return to some rudimentary issues that have been pestering me for some time and which now seem pertinent. I hope it isn’t a statement on the obvious. Rather than offering my thoughts on art and surveillance, as promised, I would like to respond to a comment that Simon Penny made on Tuesday in another panel on interactivity and art. When asked what he thought of the critical writing on interactive work he gave a witty and provocative answer, an answer provided by Mahatma Ghandi. Apparently when Ghandi was asked what he thought of Western civilization. he replied, “it would be a good idea”. The implication, of course, is that the same can be said of writing on art and new media technologies.

    This response piqued my interest because it says something about the very complicated ties- the surface tensions- between different practices or modalities of expression: theoretical discourses, writing, criticism, art works, artists, and institutions. It made me reflect on the ways our terrains diverge and overlap. After all art and theory share some common features within North America in the popular imagination: they are both often seen as useless activities.