[-empyre-] Some Thoughts on Interactivity and Art From Bibbe

Patrick Lichty voyd at voyd.com
Sun Jan 12 09:05:59 EST 2014

Bibbe Hansen:
Some Thoughts on Interactivity and Art


My father was Happenings, Fluxus and Performance Artist Al Hansen.  As a kid
I had a ringside seat to the late 50's and 60's art experiments that sought
to change the existing formulas regarding how art was made, exhibited and
experienced and in this way ideas about all kinds of art interactivity feel
hardwired. Locked out of the uptown bluechip art markets, the art newcomers
of this era in NYC were left free to game outside the accepted standard
rules of art play.  Their antics erased boundaries through varied strategies
from combining forms in ways that created new expressions as Dick Higgins
propounded in his "Intermedia" to actually seducing and/or coercing passive
art viewers into becoming active participants and collaborators in art. The
viewer might be tasked with answering a question posed by one of Fillou's
"Ample Food for Stupid Thought" cards: "How are you and why?", they could be
directed to complete the artist's intention as in Yoko Ono's instruction to:
"Imagine Peace" or the viewer might be recruited on the spot to contribute
to an actual artwork as in Yoko's "Hammer A Nail" (or to a performance like
"Cut Piece").  My father's "Happenings" explored all manner of both random
and intentional juxtapositions, interminglings and mishmashes in
performances Al referred to as "Time/Space Collages".


When Patrick and I first met in Second Life we both instantly shared a
fascination to explore Fluxus and Happening experiments in SL.  We fell in
love with an unperformed Al Hansen score I had recently unearthed that
included ballet dancers, press photographers, janitorial staff and
successive detonations of a new Cadillac by dynamite. The score was written
and illustrated in "real life" but unable to be performed until Second Life.


In 2008 Second Front were invited to participate in a show curated by Chuck
Mobley at SF Camera Work. Second Front created "Virtual Identity Theft: R U
(4) Real?", a performance-installation that invited event visitors into a
small space set up with a chair and table and computer.  Gallery-goers were
challenged to "Prove you are real" and invited to tell us Second Life
avatars who they were and what was so good about their "First Life." The
computer was set up inside a room in Second Life where Second Front members
immediately engaged any visitor in conversation.  Unbeknownst to the guest,
there was a hidden web camera streaming them live from the gallery in SF
onto a screen in SL, so whilst we performers plied the individual with
questions, we would also simultaneously be making and manifesting objects
with the guest's image on it, containing information they had just moments
ago divulged.  One minute the viewer would be pleasantly chatting with us
avatars about how many cats they had at home and how many rooms were in
their apartment and the next would be flabbergasted to realize that we
avatars suddenly now all wore large masks of his or her face and stood in a
room with oversized identity items and other artifacts containing viewer's
image and personal information. In this way we created an SL exhibit over
the week as well, a "Hall of Identities" that displayed all the collected
Wanted Posters, ID cards, and "HAVE YOU SEEN THIS PERSON?" giant milk
cartons, personalized balloons, t-shirts and other objects. 


In December 2012 SF performed at public art space Franklin Street Works in
Stamford, CT. I was in-person at the Stamford gallery with the live audience
while the rest of SF (along with my avatar Bibbe Oh) were located in the
gallery at public art space Odyssey in SL and were streamed into the "real"
space via large screen and monitors.  As well those in SL had a sound stream
of the live audience. Several pieces were performed and then the event
culminated in a live joint multiverse performance of Al Hansen's sound piece
"Alice Denham in 48 Seconds."  In this piece, as first performed in John
Cage's 1958 Experimental Composition class at the New School, sound toys are
played according to a score that suggests a series of sounds and the
durations they are to be performed.  A wall-sized score was displayed in SL
and working clickable sound toys were laid out on a large table. A variety
of sound toys were then distributed to the audience at Franklin Street Works
where a monitor displayed the score notation, but they could also use  the
large screen projection of the same score displayed in the gallery at
Odyssey.  The audience was instructed to start at any point in the score
they wished and to proceed in any direction they liked and to continue as
long as they desired. In this way, Second Front in SL and the audience at
the Franklin Street Works gallery performed and enjoyed the piece together.
That day, I performed with actual toys and the live audience and
simultaneously I played the toys in SL via Bibbe Oh.  


It's been proposed that everything existing has a dichotomy as evidence of
its reality.  That material "reality" is a product of the frisson resonating
between this duality. "Interactivity" might thus be woven into the very
fabric of all creation. 

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/attachments/20140111/86bf5a3c/attachment.htm>

More information about the empyre mailing list