Dimensions of interaction


Disziplinen // disciplines


Many artists who use interactive work methods operate in societal contexts outside the terrain of the art world. More importantly, the people who function in these different societal contexts also engage with the work, in the role of different kinds of significant others . Their perspectives and input inform the shape of the interactive work.

The Architecture of Interaction toolkit describes these different realms of society in which the artist situates his work as arenas . The specific interests and modus operandus of a particular arena informs the conceptualisation and/or realisation of an art work. Some of the main arenas in which artists are using interactive strategies are the educational arena, the political arena, the economical arena, as well as the artistic arena.

Every arena has its own set of operating rules. One could say that the implementation of a set of rules is what generates the interests, conditions and values of the arena. The individuals who function within that arena act according to these rules by sharing and fulfilling the arena's value system. The paradigm of rules that governs a particular arena also determines the behaviour of the individuals. Yet to many operating within that arena, the rules are a given (remaining unquestioned)or even invisible. It is only when the arena's paradigm of rules is challenged that the rules become explicit. The potential of an artist interacting in a particular arena is to make visible and challenge existing and unseen sets of rules.

The hexagon represents a typical set of rules implemented in a specific arena. In this diagram, white represents the artistic arena, light grey represents the educational arena, dark grey represents the economical arena. A ball in a circle represents an individual. The white ball is an artist, applying rules from the art field and the educational field in his interaction in the economical arena. The individuals operating in this arena apply the rulesets typical to their arena to try to assimilate the artist.

If artists enter a certain arena, this means they begin to operate along a new typical ruleset. (if they do not operate along the new ruleset, they have not entered the arena) It is of course also possible that the agents of a certain arena try to assimilate an outside agent. This means they apply their own set of rules and ignore the original ruleset of the outside agent. These kinds of events can be caused by ignorance, but are often also the result of agendas of the assimilating agents.
Formulated in this way, it seems obvious that an artist can only enter a certain arena by being aware of the context of rules and agendas within that arena. The artist should be capable of drawing attention to (rather than leaving implicit) the contrast between his own ruleset and the ruleset of the arena s/he enters. Otherwise s/he runs the risk of either becoming assimilated, or of not entering the arena at all.

Note on rule sets in the artistic arena






(c) Interaktionslabor & Architecture of Interaction 2008