RESEARCH: papers, conference presentations, books, residencies

Forgetting Interactivity: Notes Towards a Typology

Conference presentation

Interactivity and the Audio Arts, University of Kent, UK. 9 June 2010.


The term "interactive" has become a buzzword that artists use to describe just about anything, its history forgotten. This paper attempts to address this lacuna by developing from previous work (Kim and Seifert, Bongers, Stern, Drummond) a structural model and typology of interactivity, defined according to the roles played by various entities within the system. Along the way, the paper challenges the contemporary assumption of the necessity for a computer in the system, considers the problematic inherent in the oxymoron "virtual reality" and explores the mirror form in relationship to the interactive.

Important insights are gleaned from Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, David Rokeby and Jean Baudrillard, among others. The three orders of interactivity that result — Spectator, Collaborator, Magician — allow for a nuanced critique of interactive systems. Finally, this model is questioned in terms of the sonic arts, allowing for a second forgetting of interactivity, this one not passive but active and aware.

See also

This material was further developed in 2014 for "Spectator, performer, magician: orders of interactivity".