[-empyre-] stepping out of the frame to play around

Sean Cubitt sean.cubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Mon Jul 23 19:10:52 EST 2012

A small continuation of the theme of play and participation: Miroslav
Rogala enunciated the principle that to the degree that an artist leaves a
(interactive) work incomplete, it is the work of the audience to complete
it. If they don't bother, the work remains permanently incomplete. For
Mirek, this is bout the double-edge of the democracy he encountered eaving
Soviet Poland for the USA: that there are rights, but there are also
responsibilities, and that play in the interactive work is a matter of the
degree of responsibility we take for completing it (and experience of the
work AS art depends on the amount of time we're ready to spend working
with and contributing to it


On 23/07/2012 04:52, "Scott Mcquire" <mcquire at unimelb.edu.au> wrote:

>Hi Johannes, Sean, Karen and all
>Lost this thread in the weekend, and, even though wk 4 has begun, didn't
>want to leave it hanging.
>Johannes Birringer" <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk> wrote:
>"I wanted to just pause for a moment and ask about what kind of play you
>have observed,how you evaluate or interpret it (again one might think here
>of large screening projection works like Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Body
>or even more popular seemingly wide-spreading events like the "Big Dance
>Day" that Wayne McGregor organized via the internet on July 14),
>and how we feel about the mass ornament today?"
>These are great questions Johannes but way too big for me to do more than
>sketch a response here.  The stylization of the affective by regimes such
>the National Socialists in the 1930s was certainly one of the examples I
>thinking of in terms of the left abandoning affect and thereby leaving it
>the worst exploitations... (I agree that Kracauer's Mass Ornament, like
>Benjamin's 'aestheticisation of politics' critique, remain vital in the
>Nathalie Bookchin's 'mass ornament' video <http://vimeo.com/5403546>
>a sense of how the sort of distributed individualism fostered by the
>of web platforms such as youtube might intersect the ambivalent demands to
>'express yourself' in the present.  Not sure I read this work as an
>'intimate part of a democratic drama' (review in the LA times),  but see
>as more about the limits of contemporary exhortations for self-performance
>as self-improvement.
>I think Body Movies offers a number of pointers as to how things might
>proceed otherwise.  It involves a level of spontaneity, in the sense that
>people often discover the interface unexpectedly and then proceed to learn
>how it works through experimentation.  There are diverse modalities of
>engagement including observation of others and more direct forms of
>participation.  The work is not organised around turn-taking or
>scoring (the normal game paradigms) but is relatively open-ended.
>Individuals are able to recognize their own contributions, but these are
>always located in the broader context of a collective 'screenplay' (think
>this in the old sense as a collectively authored film). And engagement
>depends on implication of the body in the scene, which limits the tendency
>towards relating to the work as pure spectacle.
>Finally, I agree it is not only about what scenarios we think the audience
>might fulfil, but what people actually do (and don't do) in these
>A brief aside to Sean
>"In the scanned screen, completion is permanently held out as presence,
>permanently denied -- a dialectic of the unstable attept to construct a
>permanent present."
>Sounds a bit like the screen as desire in the Lacanian of lack?
>Now to the beginning of a new semester of teaching...
>Best, scott
>On 21/07/12 5:55 AM, "Johannes Birringer"
><Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk>
>> yes, i have no problems with the argument at all, Scott (regarding
>> And I am of course interested (and try to engage) affective athleticisms
>> or forces in multisensory environments we create or find ourselves in.
>> These also can be transformative, although I'd be carefully questioning
>> phenomena or massive/collective sensortiziations...
>> My concern was how the "sensory" or the "play" in interface
>> scenarios got validated and overvalued in recent interactive art and
>> interactional design [discourses] in western display sectors, leaving
>> so-called
>> interactive turn (which i was excited about initially, admittedly, in
>> terms of art practice, and then later on came to find severely limiting
>> and red-herring-ish), and we were talking here about (screen and
>> after-screen) interfaces and participatory imperatives in
>> driven modalities).
>> Thus, to remember the analyses of the apparatus posted here,
>> or the imaginings of cloudy virtual data worlds seemingly ubiquitous or
>> crowdsourced,
>> i wanted to just pause for a moment and ask about what kind of play you
>> observed,
>> how you evaluate or interpret it (again one might think here of large
>> screening projection
>> works like Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Body Movies, or even more popular
>> wide-spreading
>> events like the "Big Dance Day" that Wayne McGregor organized via the
>> on July 14),
>> and how we feel about the mass ornament today?
>> Not too long ago, during a workshop at EMPAC in 2010, we worked a lot on
>> programming
>> and devising interfacial [computational] environments for audience
>> interaction, and I remember
>> staying up many nights to write a blog on the "social ritual" (Goffman)
>> aspects imputed into such
>> participatory designs –  Goffman very interestingly spoke about
>> inter-faciality and keeping/losing face
>> in such social contexts –    yet then I noticed that in the lab we spent
>> probably most if not all of the time on
>> programming and testing, not on asking ourselves why we wanted our
>>"users" to
>> do this or that,
>> and how they responded or might respond, or not respond.
>> http://empaclivemediaperformancelab.blogspot.com/
>> with regards
>> Johannes Birringer
>> Scott Mcquire schreibt:
>> Yes, play, like participation, is a term that is much used in the
>> probably too much.  And of course the conditions of play have been
>> significantly transformed by its pervasive commodification in the
>> economy.
>> But I'm not sure I want to surrender the term.
>> Johannes asks:  Why is there so much credit given to "playful"
>> why is the sensory valued over the cognitive and pro-active political
>> organization of behavior and decision making, interpretation,
>> denials or choosing?
>> For me, both modalities are important and necessary in any
>> project.  One of the problems with traditional 'left' approaches to
>> space/public sphere was the tendency to ignore the affective and
>> the cognitive/rational (Habermas, etc).  I was thinking more in
>> sense, where play involves the collective testing and renegotiation of
>> social rules, both formal and informal, in the course of public
>> I think we ignore the affective, sensory dimension of play -- which is
>> aesthetic ‹ to our own loss.
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

More information about the empyre mailing list