Engaging Dynamics


Session Title:

  • Theory and Criticism of Interactivity in Electronic Art

Presentation Title:

  • Engaging Dynamics




  • While interactive screen technologies are becoming ubiquitous, there are many issues associated with the implementation and agency of such systems in creative rather than commercial contexts that require deeper exploration. The growing infrastructure of dynamic digital display technologies be they in the form of electronic billboards, plasma screen displays in public transport and retail environments, information terminals, projections, ‘intelligent’ building surfaces or domestic consoles, are generally controlled by commercial enterprises to influence consumer behaviour. Struppek (2006) has recognised the significant difference between public and individualised forms of screen display and has suggested that the zones which exist between virtual and physical public spaces could be used more constructively for “the creation and exchange of culture and the formation of the public sphere through criticism and reflection” (p.2). To do this she suggests that new co-operative relationships are needed to enable new approaches and challenge conventions.

    This paper addresses some of these issues in the context of the development of an interactive screen environment sited at The Edge performing arts complex in Auckland, New Zealand, and a program of interactive works being developed for this space in association with the Auckland University of Technology. The location and potential of this project is distinct from ‘urban screens’ located in public spaces, from ‘interactive art’ located in gallery spaces and from interactive games that increasingly are found within educational and domestic environments. Each of these forms and locations has particular cultural orientation, emerging aesthetic and theoretical directions and associated discourses. The specific framing of The Edge venue, as one of New Zealand’s leading performing arts, entertainment and convention facilities located in Auckland which is a key arts and cultural centre of the Pacific, engages many different communities and introduces some particular considerations and perspectives. The notion of performance as meaningful, embodied practice that functions both as a metaphor and an analytical tool activates a series of social, technological and cultural framings that are discussed in this paper in relation to some of the creative works being developed and presented through this project.

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