The Projector

Amusements & Useful Devices from K. A. Wisniewski

Interaction, Performance and Introductions to Bodies and Space

I was recently invited to participate in an online discussion on the current state of interactivity in new media art.  The forum is the first in the 2014 series from -empyre- soft-skinned space.


The Notion of Interactivity: What Now? In the 1990’s, the trope of interactivity was one of the key mythological staples of the emergence of “New Media”. The contested ground in which Manovich, Galloway, et al problematized the cybernetic tug of war between author, interactor, and computational process created endless debate in community listservs (Rhizome, Nettiime, Furtherfield, Spectre). As we pass the 10th anniversary of Manovich’s seminal text, we are currently in an era of “posts”; “post-Internet”, The Art Formerly Known as New Media (Dietz, Cook), and so on. As Katja Kwastek posits in her book, Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art, this area of aesthetic investigation has been problematic for curators and critics for years. Furthermore, the intellectual community has brought objecthood and materialty back into question, while, as Nathaniel Stern writes, interactivity has become the product of a process-based affective process. Clearly, the morphology of Interactivity in media art has shifted greatly since the publication of Manovich’s seminal book, and I only use this as a milestone as it institutionalized the phrase, and embedded interactivity as part of the debate concerning media art. For this month of Empyre, we will entertain the morphology of interactivity in media art in the last 15-20 year (at least), inviting dialogue in the areas of interactive art, glitch as dialogue, and much more. Hosting this month’s discussion will be Patrick Lichty, Lecturer at the Peck School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

The current schedule for the month hosted by Lichty looks like this:

Week 1:  January 3-10  __

Interaction, Performance and Introductions to Bodies and Space

Sandy Baldwin, Patrick Lichty, Alan Sondheim, Kevin Wisniewski, Global Front

Week 2:  January 11-17  __

Implicit Bodies, Affect, and Embodied Media Art

Katja Kwastek, Nathaniel Stern

Week 3: January 18-24  __

Glitch as Conversation

Jon Cates, Curt Cloninger, Rosa Menkman, Daniel Temkin

Week 4: January 25-31  __

Display and Response: Bodies, Wearables, and Interaction

Joey Berzowska, Susan Ryan

-empyre- soft-skinned space is a global community of new media artists, curators, theorists, producers, and others who participate in monthly thematic discussions via an email list serve. The online discussions facilitate critical perspectives on contemporary cross-disciplinary issues, practices and events in networked media.  The listserv is currently hosted by Cornell University at


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This entry was posted on January 2, 2014 by in Books/Book-making, Digital Humanities and tagged , .
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