Re: [-empyre-] interactive video

Helen Varley Jamieson wrote:

i often find when viewing 'interactive' video on the web that my interactivity consists of randomly clicking & wondering what effect the click has had or whether clicking in a different place, or at a different time, might have a produced a different result. it's interactive in that the viewer can have some effect on the work, without any real agency.

Henry Warwick wrote:

I would also distinguish the difference between interactive video and
performance cinema, and I would tend to question much of what constitutes the "interactivity" of "interactive" video, as much of what I see as "interactive art" (much less video) is not much more than various elaborations on a boolean if/then decision tree, which I
find to be completely, and too often profoundly, UNinteractive.

luke wrote:

for me, interactivity is synonymous with the word 'dialogue' when describing art, which encompasses vertices of conflict but leaves room for more. i choose the term 'clickable' over 'interactive' for art dependent on the button metaphor.

breathing wall is an interesting case in point, because it uses clickable interfaces as well as the de-visual interfaced mechanism of
audio feedback, in this work being breath. one can control breathing, but ultimately also one needs to breath and the slippage between this element of control is what to me brings the interactivity its meaning.

I am in agreement with most of this. The term "interactive" is applied
to a lot of work which is perhaps better described as non-linear, clickable or whatever. I have tended to use 'participatory' recently to describe my own video work - it better describes my intention to create a physical and aesthetic interaction with the viewer, in that
direction and speed of mouse movement directly influences what is seen.
Naturally the actual physical interaction this allows the participant depends on their setup - standard wired mouse, wireless, rollerball etc., plus mouse response speed, processor speed and all the other
determining local factors.

I feel this kind of physical interaction in the feedback sections of
Jim's "On Lionel Kearns" - a very direct digital visual representation of one's analogue movements. Maybe this type of interaction should be
distinguished from the participation in the construction of meaning of
the piece, which seems to me where real 'agency' comes in, and as Helen suggested is a great example of this.

The Breathing Wall is split into two quite different halves. The clickable linear story (the beginning of this is online) is intentionally constricted to suggest the confinement and routine of main character's daytime life in prison. The breathing ('night-dream') sections are again a very physical type of interaction, but with the twist that the slow breathing required to uncover the story causes a significant physical change in the viewer - ideally, a near hypnagogic state. I think this makes it quite different from mouse movements, which physically can only really hope to tire your arm or thumb :) The way breathing works to influence the narrative also seems closer to the basic concept of 'interactive' as "acting or capable of acting on each other."

Simon Biggs wrote:

Interesting take on revising artists moving image work in light of pre-cinema. This has been done extensively before, but in reference to stucturalist film and, then later, artists video. I guess we will
go through the same process with online digital video.

Paul St George wrote:

Animation has not been overlooked. Much of the contemporary moving image in the Sequences show (that Jim refers to) could be called animation or it could be called something else. The distinction, if there is one, between animation and much digital video is vague and refers more to their heritage rather than current practice. Interestingly, picking up on your point about stucturalist film, one
of the writers for the forthcoming book is Werner Nekes.

I hope so, Simon! I think there is still a lot to mine from pre- and early cinema. For anyone who is interested in the background of the two pieces Jim kindly posted, Patinage (and Turnbaby as an earlier iteration) both came from my interest in Anton Bragaglia's concept of the moving image, which came from Bergson's ideas about the infinite continuity of time, and were located in opposition to cinematography:

"cinematography never synthesises movement... merely reconstructs fragments of reality, already coldly broken up, in the same way as the hand of a chronometer deals with time even though this flows in a continuous and constant stream.
...We are not interested in the precise reconstruction of movement, which has already been broken up and analysed. We are involved only in the area of movement which produces sensation." (Futurist Photodynamism, 1913)

This is where the other half of the phrase "interactive video" is
problematic for me - what exactly do we call video these days? does the phrase include static images that move around the screen, and images that morph continously or very slowly (Brad Brace's 12hour jpeg project, )?

Another interesting issue for me is that digital video (interactive or not) can more easily move the screen upon which the subject is depicted, as well as the subject itself. This might offer some interesting narrative opportunities for using the movement of the eyes around the visual field, and the way this 'interacts' with the brain (supposedly eyes up & left = remembered imagery, eyes down and left = internal dialogue etc.)

Henry Warwick wrote:

I have A LOT of problems with VJ material. Most of what I have seen of it is just awful. There are some brilliant exceptions.

Yes, I completely agree... I have seen a lot of VJ content that is very good in itself, and performances that have been good in terms of the audiovisual narratives that are developed over the course of a set. But the big problem for me is the location where VJing often takes place - clubs, bars, galleries - where there is an odd tension between people wanting to sit and watch it, people who want to dance to it, and people who want to use it as background filler and talk over it.

A lot used to be made of the do-it-yourself aspect of VJ software: that the agency came from creating, rather than consuming. As a communal live experience, I find it flawed, but perhaps as an individual creative experience it is more interesting? Furtherfield is again interesting in this context as as a live, communal creative experience which works (I think) because there is largely a common intention and expectation in the participants.



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