Considering interactive digital art, and how it challenges the boundaries between the material and the digital, the artist and the viewer, concepts of permanence and impermanence and between control and (possibly illusory) free creative expression.
It becomes clear that the viewer becomes an active participant and therefore a co-creator of this kind of artwork; the viewer becomes the representation of the material world acting and creating on a digital canvas. This challenging of boundaries is a disruption, reversing and conflating roles, creating tension and through that challenging contemporary assumptions about the world and how humans exist within it.
There is an expressed awareness of the need for art to be viewed and experienced inherent within this type of work, the viewer as active participant-creator demonstrates the blurring of boundaries between the artist and the experiencer. The artist therefore becomes more of a facilitator for the creation of a fluid, never-finished work of art that they cannot necessarily control. The artist lets go of their title and steps back from creating.
How does this express what the artist is trying to convey when they have less control over the product of their work? It is as if the artist creates only the canvas and provides the means for others to express themselves through the chosen medium. It is both challenging and groundbreaking in terms of assumed roles of “artist” and “observer”.
This is an “open” art. This art becomes less subjective and more reciprocal. The act of creation, emotionally, contains within it the need to let go of what you have created. This interactive, co-creative art encompasses that sense of letting go into the very fabric of the creation of the work, this art is impermanent, fluid, never-ending, incomplete.
The active participant is invited to create with the tools provided by the artist, but at the same time they are constrained by those tools. Their art is limited, and it is also impermanent, it exists when they create it, but then it is erased so the next person can “have a go”. Does this art therefore become little more than a pretty, creative game? I wonder if this lends a sense of frivolity to the endeavor, if it in fact undermines what is special and magical about art; that it is cherished and kept because of its inherent beauty.
In the Barbican’s rain room, the total immersion within the art seems both magical and challenging to the senses, to expectations, and to notions of what art is or should be.
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room is aesthetically beautiful, ethereal, an art that pulls you in even through video, and makes you yearn for the true immersive experience.
Immersive, digital art is impressive, it is dynamically experiential, it is beautiful, it is challenging, and it is impermanent.