Journal Entry Feb. 6, 2006

When I hear the phrase Interactive Art I think of a wide variety of types of artwork. The first thing that comes to mind is video games and virtual reality. The concept of interacting with the artwork does not limit me to those two examples but any work that involves the audience which could include sculpture installations and performance art. I do think web sites as interactive art but I feel that web sites are often interactive but not artistic and vice versa. The idea of interactivity is to involve the audience physically and mentally and most of the time I do not feel that web sites accomplish this.

Basically my definition of interactive art is the process of creating an artwork either in the digital world or the physical world that evokes collaboration between the work of art and the audience in both physical and mental realms in which both the work and the audience are affected. What led me to this definition is basically my own perception of the combination of what makes a successful artwork and ways in which interaction occurs between user and subject. I have seen the interactive label widely used in various virtual reality simulations as well as for installations.

The three degrees of interactivity would be minimal interaction such as flipping a light switch in a room limiting you to only one outcome. The second degree of interactivity would be having a variety of preset outcomes to the choices and a good example is the old childrens books where depending on which event you chose would affect the end of the book. The third and final degree of interactivity is when the user has complete control to alter the final form. For instance Sandy Skogland eggshell piece were the audience was allowed to edit the work at will and after a few hours would consider it finished by the hands of the audience. I think that my web portfolio would definitely fall into the first category because it allows the user to interact with the site and explore but it does not involve narrative aspect nor does it give the audience member the ability to effect the artworks image/end result or change the artwork.

I really liked Americas Finest out of the different works by Lynn Hershman. I think that it was a interesting work that had a variety of interaction. I think that it not only involved the audience members physically but also mentally. It makes you think about what you are doing when using a rifle and makes the view think about the relationship between victim and the aggressor. Furthermore, instead of bluntly supplying the audience with a meaning forces the audience to reflect inward and interact with the piece for meaning. While it may not allow the audience to affect the end produce of the artwork the audience is still immersive by involving the audience in the work especially when they superimpose the images taken by the hidden camera into the work itself. Basically the entire work is based around the interaction of the audience with the work otherwise the artwork is not complete.