Interactivity and Control: The Aesthetics of Real Space Interactives


Session Title:

  • Narratives, Interactivity and Metaphors

Presentation Title:

  • Interactivity and Control: The Aesthetics of Real Space Interactives



  • The formation of limestone or petroleum from biological deposits has long been understood, but the extensive relationship between the biological and geological is just beginning to be sketched out. The recent discovery that, in the US, humanity has become the dominant geological force is significant. Our combined activities alter more of the earth’s crust than weathering, erosion and the activity of rivers. Having been ejected from the Garden of Eden for the development of consciousness we have always seen ourselves as a part from it. The categories of ‘the Natural and ‘the Artificial’ are ancient and fundamental to the cultures within which I and many of you exist. The intricate assembly of a beaver’s dam and lodge are understood to be of nature whereas the autobahn and Brazilia are clearly not. Yet, if we suspend the egocentrism for a moment, we can see that these are differences in degree rather than of kind. All the products of human activity are ‘natural’ ones.

    There is no artificial. Machines are part of the ecosystem.

    The development of computation machinery in the last half of the twentieth century is one of the primary developments during this period. Shrinking from room-size constructions to
    handheld devices – they are posed to disappear into the woodwork. This migration fundamentally changes the nature of the environments that we inhabit. There is an erosion of inertness by the injection of intelligence. We must begin to consider the role we are to play within the context of intelligent environments. This work is concerned with issues in technology where the inability to control is at the heart of the matter. The project exhibits behaviors that are determined jointly by the internal logic of the software, the participation of the viewer(s), and by environmental circumstances. The work does not relinquish control to either the public, the environment, or the software, but sets up a condition where the confluence of the three results in a particular behavior. It uses rather simple technologies to explore issues that are raised by the larger contemporary technical environment in which we find ourselves.