Investigating Interactive Beauty: A Research-Art Project


Session Title:

  • Adopting Traditional Concepts of Beauty with the Digital

Presentation Title:

  • Investigating Interactive Beauty: A Research-Art Project




  • My paper is a presentation and discussion of my academic-artistic installation Investigating Interactive Beauty (IIB). This installation forms the empiric part of a larger academic investigation of the notion of beauty in interactive art. IIB is an art installation and an empirical experiment that allows for data collection.  The research-art installation IIB thus encompasses an aesthetic experience and engages the participant in reflections on the nature of beauty in interactive art.

    The basic idea of IIB is the contradictory notions of contemplative and performative beauty, represented on the one hand by the static representational genre of the art of still life paintings, and on the other hand the very artistic act of creating and composing still life set-ups (based on the hypothesis, that interactive artefacts offer and modulate the participants’ creative (poietic) impetus. The installation gives the participant the opportunity to compose the physical model of a still life by selecting and arranging typical still life objects (vases, flowers, food, dead animals, etc.) on a table.

    The participant can at the same time see the photographic result of her arrangement real time as a projection, showing the video picture of the arranged still life. But the picture is a digitally manipulated picture. The degree and kind of modification depends on the amount and kind of the participant’s physical actions in space. The modification modalities are inspired by exponents of art history’s development from representational art to various kinds of pictorial motion abstractions (Balla, Boccioni, Duchamps, Muybridge).

    Questionnaires, one before and one after the engagement with the interactive artefact, frame the research-art installation. The ‘pre-interaction’ questionnaire seeks to get information about the participants’ general notion of artistic beauty. The post-interaction part is an open-ended questionnaire followed by a brief personal interview on interactive beauty, as a reflection on the participants’ experience with the installation. The experiment has at the time of the abstract submission not been completed. The academic results of the experiment will be presented at the symposium.

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