“Interactivity Means Interpassivity” presented by Sarkis


Session Title:

  • Video Papers

Presentation Title:

  • Interactivity Means Interpassivity



  • Terms such as ‘interactivity’, ‘virtual reality’, and ‘cyberspace’ are among the biggest buzzwords of technological progress, media and media-art. This paper challenges certain claims made in relation to the subject of ‘interactivity’ in media-art, and especially of the tenor and choice of words such formulations often invoke. The predominant view holds that by programming a computer and connecting it to an interface that can receive and translate special movements in its surrounding into information that can be understood by the computer – which subsequently performs certain parts of its program according to the functions triggered by the spectator’s movements – we are presented with a liberating ‘interactive’ work.

    Cybernetic ‘communication’ between the technical installation and its user is said to be achieved. The emphasis here is on ‘the technical installation’ and ‘the spectator’, not on ‘the programmer’ of the installation and its ‘user’. In my opinion there are two reasons for this particular slant. The first is not difficult: the technical deficiencies of interactivity are suppressed by the computer industry, which of course needs to sell its products and therefore build up sophisticated superstructures and PR campaigns which can advertise the products capabilities.

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