“Transactional Arts — Interaction as Transaction” presented by Plewe


Session Title:

  • Transforming Media

Presentation Title:

  • Transactional Arts -- Interaction as Transaction




  • Interactive media, especially the internet, have a strong business component where interactions are actually transactions. In this research we will investigate how artists reflect business practices in their works. To refer to economic principles with artistic means is not limited to new media art, but has been pursued by artists such as Yves Klein, Carey Young, Santiago Serra, Chris Burden, Christine Hill, and many more. We may subsume these works under the more general concept of “Art about Business”. Within the field of interactive art in general and netart in particular, artists have also developed various approaches. Etoy and RT Mark e.g. act as corporations, issuing shares in order to raise capital for their activities. So called auction art uses online market-places such as Ebay to convey rather conceptual artworks. The Yes Men (Bhopal Project) mimic corporate communication for their critical position on capitalism and promise massive transactions. We will consider artistic approaches, where the interaction is related to some sort of transaction as “transactional arts”.

    We assume that media art has always been the creation, design, structuring and control of possibility spaces. With possibility space we mean the set of choices due to the use of a non-linear medium. Artists have attempted to continuously expand these possibility spaces. We claim that the trend towards transactional arts is another artistic strategy of extending possibility spaces leading to some sort of “meta-art works”.

    Following A. Galloway we agree, that today’s internet protocols are “synonymous with possibility” and that the internet facilitates the economic form of market places. From here we make the connection to the current discourses around the role of the concept of the market place as an organizing principle for societies (e.g. D. Westbrook). In the current globalized economy (with its decline of the influence of the nation state as some claim) market mechanisms seem to be more powerful than ever. Therefore reflecting these mechanisms with artistic means seems to be a justifiable task. In this context we will introduce some new artistic works, where offers and bids are considered as media of expression and incentives become artistic material.

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