Dimensions of interactional art




The partcipating others are all individuals other than the initiating author(s) of the work.
Interaction architecture sets out to map different kinds of others in order to make distinctions, comparisons and most importantly to view the relations between relevant others who interpret, partake and/or inform the work, and the connection they have to the significance of the work.

What kinds of others partake in an interactive work? The types of others are either determined by the maker's or participant's reasons for participating in the work, or indeed for not participating in the work. The three most clearly distinguishable types of others are:

Participants: are others who play an active part in the work, who often have a creative role in the development of the work. The participant’s role can take place in any part of the work process.

Onlookers: are others who witness the publication of the work(process) but are not involved in the actual happening or process of interaction itself. They are the direct audience during the realisation of the work.

Witnesses of Traces: are others who were not present when the work(process) was publicly realised, and that therefore only know of the interactive work through its traces. They are an indirect audience.

Slicing through this diagram offers other useful possibilities. The slice cannot show the time dimension, but it can better indicate the relative importance of the different kinds of others. Note: this slice may look different at different critical time frames of the execution of the work.

Kinds of Interactors: – a list of possible roles and labels of participants, onlookers and witnesses-of-traces.Since interactive works are by nature processes, time is a critical dimension for people who use interactive work methods. Every phase of a project, but also every step in an interaction has a time frame. If the interactions themselves are the main embodiment of the work, then the work only exists for and within a specific time frame, after which only the work's traces are left. This is of course related to the importance that the intiating author has assigned to the roles of different kinds of others .

If, for instance, one series of interactions between a set of participants and the work led to certain effects that are used as the starting point of a second series of interactions with a new set of participants, these two series of interactions are clearly two significant different time frames.
The time frames that are critical for a specific work, may relate to the disciplines that shaped the makers sensitivities most.


For a more intensive discussion on these matters of interaction architecture and the social performance of participants in an interactive system, see:

blog for the 2010 Interaktionslabor at EMPAC.



(c) Interaktionslabor & Architecture of Interaction 2008-11