[-empyre-] forward from Johannes
Thanks for these interesting replies, Christiane and James, and Sean.
I wish i could use some further examples,...... but it might be hard
to deal with all the descriptions. I found James's more detailed
description of the "border" exhibit fascinating, and it was not my
intention to make any quick dismissals at all of interactive art even
if i find it often a-political or rhetorically misleading (I think i
was wrong using the term "useless" -- this was a reaction against the
claims of transgressiveness so often attached to works being brought
to the discussion).
If "spatial practices" claim intervention into urban space or built
environment, I'd like to ask what they intervene into exactly, for
whom, on whose behalf?
I try to be brief:
-- >> we see the privileging of visuality within a spatial condition
inhabited, is evocative of all of one's senses.>>
-- <<Then of course the
difficulty of getting passerby to take more than a passing glance>>
--<<We intend the work to be bodily
experiential not just visual or intellectual. ">>
a) My work is in performance (and media), so I approach the spatial
questions from a performative view, and am of course interested in
seeing the claims being made for the new "relational architectures
(Lozano-Hemmer) or relational aesthetics.
For example, Mark Hansen has written quite a few wonderful texts, in
which he is actually proposing a phenomenology of (digital)
perception which takes into account the kinesthetic and synaesthetic
senses. He has written beautifully on NOX Architecture's
Son-O-House, which is an interactive pavillon which depends on the
"user" / visitor exploring it with her body and all senses and
experiencing the building's reactiveness or inter-corporeality
(real-time audiovisual things happen).
b). Lozano-Hemmer's "Body Movies" were projections of shadows cast by
participants/urban strollers' body movements, the huge projections
were thrown onto building facades.
This kind of public projection seems popular now. You can get large
c) as are such new, complex digital projections that include
artificial intelligence or motion captured bodily data in
re-animations and abtract "creature behaviors" (e.g. Paul Kaiser and
Marc Downie's current work, one of which was a huge projection onto
York Minster, the other a musical work onto the Lincoln Center in
NY). These are very beautiful works, just like the new Gerhard
Richter window for the Cologne Cathedral, and i doubt these claim any
politics (although the Cologne Bishop hates the Richter color
abstractions). [For those of you interested, English sculptor John
Newling has written very beautifully on his work for cathedrals and
d) then there ar enumerous interactive installation that indeed
involve or immerse the visitor in the way James suggests, and often
such performance oriented works have an interface that involves all
our sensorial faculties, as Christiane says. But i am not sure they
are "performative" if they invite an unwitting visitor to step inside
and do it. Do what?
Where did the claim to the audience;'s co-authorship arise, and what
does it mean ideologically? Most audiences i have seen behave in
complex intefaces did not know the interface programming and had to
learn or intuit it. You all know the results, even if one is of
course quite correct in saying the affect and the experience matter,
and our audiences are intelligent. There is not doubt, but in
galleries and museums and shopping malls and plazas they are also
Some interactive installations often are carefully programmed to
"happen" in a gallery or exhibition space.
The urban projection works, for which the more explicit political
claims are made, tend to be in non-art spaces or in spaces that - as
Sean argued -- often are indeed commercial spaces that solicit
"distracted inhabiting" (i would not personally call it inhabiting,
as that term for me implies living in it, even if temporarily, making
Performance and digital performance are of course transitory,
ephemeral. Nevertheless, architects like Lucy Orta have created
"collective wear" fabrics or shelters ("NEXUS ARCHITECTURE) that can
be worn and "lived in", i suppose, and i would like to include
fashion and textile design into this discussion of spatial practices
(partly because i am working on interactice clothing in performance).
Now, there is another example I remember which moved me, Sascha
Waltz and her dancers in Berlin working inside the not yet opened
Jewish Museum (Daniel Libeskind), prior to it becoming a public
museum, she performed a site-specific action in it with "bodies".
Her later stage work was also called "Bodies." She was
exploring/experiencing the memorial/imaginative/metaphysical building
which Libeskind had construed to address Jewish history inside the
German capital and city where the Holocaust was decided/originated.
But had I been in that museum that night, watched the dancers, or
even moved into and through the dark corridors and tunnels myself,
how would i articulate this experience?
along the lines of Hansen's theory of "mobilization of affectivity
beyond the image"?
Why is current theory obsessed with recuperating Merleau-Ponty,
Bergson, Deleuze, but not Debord, Marx, or Henri Lefebvre, or
writers and activists from outside the west (Fanon, Raqs Media
Collective, Coco Fusco -- have you seen Coco's maquiladora worker
video?) -- and why is there no political-aesthetic discouse on
is it possible that there is no political-aesthetic discouse on
interactivity (in performance and media arts) because such
inter-actional strategies (sorry, i was not persuaded by Ai WeiWei's
urban tourism with 1001 Chinese guests in documenta-Kassel) are
perceived in the commodified harmless neo-dada or neo-conceoptualist
frame -- the frame in which a visual or peformance artist cooks
noodles for the visitor, or in the "interventionist" mold which,
following the reception of sensorial work, is privitized personal
secular mysticism, indeed, affect without any critical excess.
The digital in the urban world (and thanks to the gods, we have
survived the month of Second Life) is a complicated proposition,
since digital or virtual art, as one might argue, is a form of social
autism or produces such. For the digital to affect and transform us
politically, what could it do?
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