Topic: Reading Assignment

Volume: 5 pages

Type : Questions and answers


Read pages 1-52 in your textbook (chapter 1 and the first two sections of chapter 2), and answer each of the questions given in the reading guide Katja Kwastek. Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art. (Chapters 1 & 2) ISBN: 9780262528290 (Your textbook): Login to the website to get the e-book:

Chapter 1: Interactive Art – Definitions and Origins
(New) Media Art, Computer Art, Digital Art, and Interactive Art
What do critics usually mean by ‘media art’?
Why is this term confusing and problematic?
Why does the author still find it useful?
How is computer and digital art defined here?
How is ‘interactive art’ usually defined?
How is this controversial?

The concept of interaction
What is cybernetics?
What is the distinction between interaction and interactivity?
What are some fundamental features of interaction?
What is the typical distinction critics make between interactive art and participatory or collaborative art?
In what decade did ‘interactive art’ finally become an important concept in ‘media art’?
What is a problem with the term ‘interactive art’, and how does the author work around this?

Aesthetic Strategies in Processual Art
What caveats does the author make before discussing the artistic strategies of interactive media art’s forerunners?

Process and Chance
Name three artists that used random chance in their artistic process?
What are the ends to which each of these artists employ random chance?
How is unpredictability usually employed in interactive media art?

Describe the works in which audience participation was first realized.
How did the ‘action art’ of the 1950s try to push this further?
Describe Alan Kaprow’s ‘Happenings’ and why they were historically important.
Describe one example where artist(s) relied on participation to create or complete the work.

The material of everyday life
Describe an example where artists use the objects of everyday life in their work. (Look up the artist to get more information.)
What was the initial aim of using everyday objects in artworks?
According to the author, when is the reach into public space perceived as a provocative violation?
Provide an example (you will have to look up the artist for a fuller description of the work)

Rules and game structures
Why are rules and structure important in artworks that are based on chance and participation?
Describe the contrast in how the strategies of Alan Kaprow and George Brecht evolved over time.
Kaprow is quoted as saying “Real freedom is a consequence of real limitations.” Do you agree? Provide an example from your own life experience to support your argument.
Why do you think that goal-oriented processes are rare in art?

Movement and perception
What is kinetic art?
Describe one of the examples of kinetic art or op art given in the text. (Look up the artwork and provide a photo.)
How does kinetic art heighten the role of the observer?
How does being physically involved in an artwork (through interaction) heighten the experience of the art?
What is the key ontological difference between action art and kinetic art?

Self-perception and self-observation
What was the aim of video art in the 1970s?
Look up Bruce Nauman’s Live taped corridor (1970) and describe it. Provide an image.
What kind of interaction happens in closed-circuit video installations?
What do you think is added by digital enhancements or distortions?

From cybernetics to artificial reality
Describe one of the examples discussed in this section and explain how it elicited interaction and interest from the audience. (Look it up and provide a photo)
What happens when the interaction process is no longer immediately transparent to the audience?
Why does the author believe that Myron Krueger’s contributions to interactive media art were particularly significant?

Artificial intelligence and artificial life
What are the two intentions that the author identifies in artistic explorations of artificial intelligence?
What is the distinction between artificial life and artificial intelligence?

Collaborative networks and telepresence
How does the artist’s focus shift when there are new communication media to explore?
What is one of the criticisms made about the type of interactivity that the web offers?
What additional level of interactions do digital communications provide?

Virtual Reality
What ancient function of art is rekindled by digitally simulated environments?

What is alinearity and what interactive possibilities does it offer?
What does allowing the audience to freely navigate through a narrative do for them?

Art, Technology, and Society
Describe one of the ways (and one of the examples) in which media art directly intersects with society.

Chapter 2: Interaction as an Aesthetic Experience

The Artwork as the Object of Aesthetics
How is the ‘artwork’ defined traditionally and currently?
How does interactive art challenge these definitions?

Contextualizing the artwork in time
What are the three ways in which an artwork can be contextualized in time?
Dittman argues that a purely historically-oriented contextualization neglects the here-and-now presence of the artifact. How does Walter Benjamin resolve this?
For interactive art, what are the most relevant ways in which to contextualize the works in time?

The material integrity of the work
List the different boundaries of art that were dissolved by 20th century avant-garde artists.
What is the author’s working hypothesis for defining the materiality of interactive works?

Aesthetic Experience
According to Myron Krueger, what is the medium of all interactive art works?
According to Dewey, what is required for an aesthetic experience to take place?
According to Martin Seel, what does it take for an artwork to be perceived as an artwork?
According to Hans-Georg Gadamer, what happens during an aesthetic experience?
What characteristic of interactive art is not encompassed by existing theories of aesthetic experience?
What are the three main touchstones of aesthetics in interactive art?
What is the main question that needs to be posed anew for interactive art?

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