[-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 which, when
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 commissions.

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 public spaces].

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 distracted.

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 them home...)

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 interactivity?

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?

regards Johannes Birringer http://www.brunel.ac.uk/dap --

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