Response Paper 1 – What is Interactivity

Roy Ascott explained the meaning of interactivity, by depicting the difference between interactivity and reactivity in the arts. He suggested that in visual arts, artists aim to communicate a clear message to the spectators. Hence, the spectators here, only function as receivers of the message, who can only react to the art piece. Meanwhile, spectators in behavioral art, contribute to the act of creation as much as the artists and their art pieces do. Therefore, behavioral art is a collaboration between the artists, the art piece, and the spectator. The three components create a feedback loop that allows the created piece to exist and persist.

After reading Chris Crawford’s ideas on interactivity, Roy Ascott’s ideas became more patent to me. Crawford suggested that interactivity is a cyclic process, much like a conversation between two people. For the conversation to exist, the two individuals involved must listen, think, and then speak to each other. So, if we incorporated Ascott’s idea with Crawford’s, we would get a clearer idea of what interactivity is.  So in visual art the artists always speak through their art pieces, while the spectators listen and think. Here, the spectators would never speak back. On the other hand, in behavioral art, the artists would speak through their art pieces,and the spectators would listen to them while they think about the information that is being fed to them. However, the process does not end here in behavioral art. Because the spectators would eventually respond by speaking again through the art pieces. This is how the feedback loop is created through the participants’ interactivity.