PUBLIC TALK: The modal weight of an interactive and electronic artwork; relational materiality, distributed cognition and the actor-network
|The modal weight of an interactive and electronic artwork; relational materiality, distributed cognition and the actor-network : Public seminar with Mark Cypher
Generally, interactive and electronic artworks are conceptualised as essentially immaterial. That is, the digital artwork is a pure abstraction that lacks the physical properties that literally ground an artwork in the empirical world. In contrast, this paper maps the effects of interactivity in an electronic artwork as beholden to a whole range of material actors. This distributed effect is explained in terms of Actor-Network Theory. The combined outcome is that the supposed immateriality of digital artworks is in fact reconstituted with a kind of relational and informational materiality. Composed of, if not dependent on, the heterogeneous nature of a whole host of actors that sustains an artwork from production into exhibition and interaction.
The events observed and experienced in many interactions involving the artwork suggest that materiality is present at every stage. The implication then is that wherever actors, cognition and materiality meet, a mutually catalysing and constituting relationship is likely to develop. Consequently, when an actor interacts with the artwork, there is a shift in relational matter and hence the way it is expressed in information materiality. Thus, meaning is co-enacted in relation with the affordances in place. This cumulative generation of meaning points to a distributed and collective expression of cognition that constantly blurs the distinctions between intention and material affordance in interactive artworks. Therefore, the description that follows demonstrates that meaning, cognition and action arise together with the modal weight of materials in interaction that then shapes the nature of the electronic and interactive artwork.
Dr Mark Cypher received a PhD in 2011 from the University of Western Australia and is currently a Senior Lecturer and Program Chair for Interactive Digital Design and Games Art and Design at Murdoch University - Western Australia. His art and design practice reflects an ongoing engagement with the practice and discourse of interactivity particularly in relation to actor-network theory. His artwork has featured in over 16 international exhibitions including, 404 International Festival of Electronic Arts (Argentina), Salon International De Art Digital (Cuba), Siggraph 2006 (USA), FILE - Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica ( Brazil), NewForms06 (Canada), BEAP -Biennial of Electronic Art (Australia), Haptic 07 (Canada), Bios4, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (Spain), ISEA 2011 (Istanbul), Transitio_MX (Mexico) and Electrofringe (Australia).
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