RESEARCH: papers, conference presentations, books, residencies

credit: """Day and Night"" by Max Ernst"

Spectator, Performer, Magician: Orders of Interactivity

Conference presentation

Retune 2014: Inside the Mirror, Arena Glashaus, Berlin. 26-28 September 2014.


This paper begins by discussing metaphors and the time-worn concept of "interactivity". Three orders of interaction are proposed; each named after the particular element required for the work to become complete.

The first is the Spectator, considered by Marcel Duchamp to be an active contributor to an artwork. The second is the Performer, as demonstrated in Kaprow's "Happenings", where the artists deferred decision-making to social processes, works being completed only through performative acts. The third order is elaborated through examination of Alberti's assertion that Narcissus invented painting.

Considerations of the mirror as an object of engagement and estrangement lead to an examination of the differences between "mirror" and "screen" as metaphors of interaction. The Magician card from the Tarot invokes the third order, one of mutual, self-conscious, and continuous recursion. Meaning is generated, not in any of the individual elements, but in the movement that takes us from term to term. This order can be claimed by creative works that invoke play and recursion, that open themselves up to radical change, even to the point of dissolution.


This paper is not currently available. I hope to develop it further at some point in the future.