Re: [-empyre-] interactive video
Well - it's great to see people discussing one of the real-time,
collaborative projects on Furtherfield. So, thank you for mentioning it.
So it'll take this opportunity to declare in more detail certain aspects
of what the VisitorsStudio is...
One of the many things that we have learned during the setting up and
creation/formulation of a facility such as 'VisitorsStudio'
(http://www.furtherstudio.org/live), is that you could be
creating/inventing the most amazing work(s), yet it is not being seen by
certain academics even though you are actually creating the very thing
that many of them advocate themselves should be made or put into
fruition. So, thankfully, we are not creating the facility for them or
we would be starved of qualative, reflection.
We rely on the source to get feedback, not tech, but people. We created
the facility for ourselves, and those who would find creative experience
and value in using it for their own imaginative means, collaboratively
or singularly. It is the 'users' who are the real voice, they are best
critics and are priceless advisers regarding how such a facility can be
For us, participation is the key when creating something as
collaborative as VisitorStudio. in time, after working with so many
different people on the project, we have learned that an instinct
occurs, that situationally introduces a fluid, behavior brings about and
enhances a creative dialogue. This can offer art works that are
significant, beautiful and poignant - some may argue, and indeed have
suggested that many of the results of these collaborative experiences
have resulted in works that are equal to any work created of any
singular entity/artist. Personally, I would say that it is not better or
worse. It is an option, an alternative, in its right it serves to break
down the notion of singular (ego centred) creativity. Not death of the
author, but the representation of many authors at once, mutated and
hybridized. It educates, not in the traditional sense, but in respect of
how people behave when working live, online whilst going through the
process of creativity with others mutually.
Also, it challenges various aspects/notion of copyright - many of the
works that are uploaded by the creative participants are changed,
mutated and remixed, whether it be sound/visuals by other users. The
kind of files that are used (the list will be more extensive soon) are
jpg's, mp3's and swf.
VJ'ing, is not necessarily the issue and can too often fall into the
trap of being a 'one dimensional' mediation tool, limited by its
non-collaborative functions - conforming to dj domination over others,
lacking mutualist involvement. In contrast, Furtherfield's
VisitorsStudio, allows the choice for everyone viewing to be actively
creating and participating at once, in real time, from anywhere in the
world on a 56k modem - upwards. Lending itself towards artistic
creation, pushing further than just a tool for having a good time.
Although having a good time, these days is definitely pretty important,
but exploration is just as valid.
We created VisitorsStudio, so that it would also be used not only on the
Internet, but also with mobile-media. As in, out door events on the
streets, using wireless, projections and mobile phone communications. A
good example of one of the documented events that we all took part in
last year, with many different users/artists from allover world at the
same time is - Dissension Convention.
Out of the event, we have created an archive so people can observe what
can be created by going through the action of collaborative creativity.
Coinciding with the Republican Convention in New York, over 20
international net artists and digital artists broadcaster a new
collaborative art-polemic with a focus on how Bush and the US
Republicans negatively influence every locality around the world.
All multimedia performances were created live, on line on Furtherfield's
VisitorsStudio. These were projected at New York's, Postmasters
Gallery's RNC NODE (http://www.postmastersart.com/RNC_NY.html), a
way-station, which served as a physical node of an ad-hock public
broadcasting, a system of on line, real time protest performances and
alternative news actions. All on line streams were also output in local
bars and projections from windows & also projected onto 'The Point
community centre', the Bronx. And seen on
A live, Mix-Archive - Here you can access an edited archive of the 30
hours of performance created during this unique event. Just click on
participants names below.
The true essence of on line collaboration regarding this virtual studio,
is that it is networked, and can be accessed/used outside of the net
arena at the same time. Interactivity is the first base, then
participation is the next step, then collaboration supports the
engagement of A type of non-singular evolution, which reflects mutual,
multi-productive works that potentially transcend, already prescribed
ideologies of art practice and production, bringing about a field and
process of shared performance, as well as digitally free content being
created by more than one individual before one's very eyes.
It is not only the people that invent/make the platform and sculpt it,
it is the community that changes its manner and shape as well, in
demanding that it changes for their own creative needs. If this aspect
is ignored for a (supposed) higher level of thinking, due to any
idealistic or theoretical concept, then the platform is not going to be
seen or used by any community - because to be honest - the work itself,
like a platform should explain its reasonings,functions and
possibilities once someone explores and engages with it.
If a platform is created that immediately opens up possibilities for
contemporary creativity to invent new works not only collaboratively but
also in pushing forward how people actually adapt and engage in the act
of creativity itself. Then a new behavior occurs that naturally
introduces not only interesting content and work, but also a mannerism
that can positively show others that collaboration is possible whilst
using technology and also on the terms of the creators/artists taking
part in the creative process themselves.
Some relevant links - people who have used this facility, as well as
dissension convention crew...
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.
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 http://www.furtherstudio.org/live is a great example
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
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
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, http://art-bin.com/art/gabout12.html )?
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
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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