From Behavioral to Systematic

We live in a time and space of alienation, and the desperate need for systematic languages such as philosophy and computation.

Modern Art is to a large extend relational. Everything we do in relation to another individual, organism, or object is relational. The relationship seems to be most obvious to art that’s made of tangible material. By physically being in contact with tactile material, we feel a sensory and sometimes emotional sense of closeness.

With the introduction of moving material, such as kinetics, wind, and moving image, the behavior of the artifact becomes generative – a tendency of “growth”. Each stage of growth is composed of a traditional static image or object. And together, the stages of growth form a “happening”, the emergence of the concept of existence.

With computational art, this sense of “growth” becomes apparent in generative art, glitch art, and video games.  In the case of the video game, a new space called Art Game or Game Art emerges where unlike commercial games that focus on entertainment, action, or combat, Art Games highlight interactive narratives and experiential scene design, emphasizing artistic expression, concept, and creative inquiry. Some great indie games such as Journey, Fire Watch, Monument Valley, Limbo can no longer be won but remain in a state of wonder throughout the entire game play. Great painters like Picasso and Salvodore Dali also incorporate this sense of generativity in their work. Instead of trying to present a finite definition determined solely by the artist’s consciousness, their works capture a glimpse of an ever-approaching, never concluding behavior of growth, allowing audiences’ to contemplate the infinite direction of progression with their imaginations. The inclusion of user feedback in digitally interactive forms made this artist-spectator exchange more rapid and literal. Prior to digital interactivity, although the artistic exchange is a two-way process, the form of exchange is much more explicit from the artist’s direction and completely internal and private from the audience’s side. Digital interactivity allows audience to influence the artifact with immediacy while getting tangible feedback – visual, physical, or both. Good art always activates, but digital interactivity puts in place a interface of equilibrium to frame the artifact which helps to achieve equilibrium with more artistic exchanges. This also explains why digital interactive installations like The Rainroom can attract millions of viewers who don’t traditionally have a habit of visiting museums or art galleries.

Besides tangible feedback, creation is also a form of agency in artistic exchange. Artist-led maker workshops introduced making as a new repertoire of art, and thus further allowed viewers to become not just the receiver of feedback, but the sender as well [To Be Continued].



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