interactivity and MORE

Amanda Steggell (
Mon, 19 May 1997 01:39:00 +0200 (MET DST)

Hi, I'm responding to sarah's mail on interactivity, especially the
quotation below .....

b) between the participants themselves. In order to improvise with some
kind of focus participants need to learn how the installation is responding
to them, and learn how to interact with it productively (a feature of all
interaction). Another analogy might be that of team games. You learn how
to respond to team mates when playing soccer, for example, or baseball,
within the strcutures of the rules of play. Once you know the structures
of the game you can play the game.

- well, I have recently become the coach assistant to a football team for
seven year olds. This happened bcoz, when following my 7 year old to
football training I find it impossible to sit still with all those bodies
running around. I want to join in the movement. I'm learning the rules, and
have become a trainee referee - I have never been iterested in sport b4,
infact I have avoided it whenever possible. What makes me want to move is
the energy of the other movers - how it feels to run, kick the ball, blow
the whistle - I actually don't give a toss about the rules, but have to
adhere to them to b able to join in. Now this is all fair and square in
sport, but I demand something else from ART. Just to learn HOW something is
responding to me seems to b a more pedagogical experience. So, I would b
intereseted to hear from Sarah more about the installation from a content
point of view.

sarah writes:

We are still working on the programming of the structures, attempting to
set up the possibilites for a sophisticated dialogic interaction *(a far
more difficult enterprise than a one-one interaction between user and

Sorry sarah, I do not agree with ur statement as it appears here. I gather
u r talking about the technical work u r doing - the design of the
environment. It is mayb technically difficult, yes? But sophisticated? On
who's terms, and is sophistactation the aim?

sarah writes;
or between installation and an ensemble of performers, whose
behaviours are designed as a choreography of the space in some way and
interactions pre-planned.)

I think u r oversimplifying here. For my part, if I design an environment
in which a performer may interact with elements in that environment, I do
so becoz I have made decision that this does something to the performer -
and gives something to the work, the time, space and dramatical expression,
that is between the performer and the space and the audience (or eventual
other users/participators/performers) which I cannot plan. I may designate
a moment in a structure where this improbability element will b activated,
but the result shall not b a quantative product. The data may b quantative
- back to Johannes; "That elusiveness(ethereal-ness) that Ohno can dance,
cannot be precisely theorized".

I donot consider a simpler interface to b any more or less sophisticated
then an intricate interface when talking about an art work. I actually
donot like the word sophisticated. Sorry.

We are all taking part in these discussions for our own reason. i would
like to clarify mine. I am interested in what people who have kicked off on
dance at some point in their lives r doing with technology - and why.

#in installation work where performers/designers/artists r physically
absent, and users must glean an intention from a space, how has the
knowledge of gained from a dance-orientated/interested background been
incorporated in the installation? How much bodywork has happened b4 the
installation? In the absence of direct bodywork, what is ur conceptual
angle, why is the body left out, and can it b?
Why, if u r a choreographer, or a software designer, or a composer,
whatever, r u inerested in working with such projects?
What have u got 2 tell me that supernintendo can't?

#in works involving flesh-performers, what is their relationship to the
technological intervention? What happens to the performer's
performermances? How r ur audiences reacting? What happens to the structure
of a performance group when performers work "hands-on"? Do the performers
need to know about the technology? How do u use the skills/qualities a
performer already has in this process?

Many of these points have and r being discussed. I would like 2 hear more.
With the discussion raging on through ethnography, philosophy, etc, I,
like Mark, am often baffled by terminology and references, though I read
and read again. I cannot respond. I feel inadequate. But never the less
content to read, to open up to what's being expressed, and prompted to pass

Susan has brought up a point with her Butoh reference - purity. (I am
pleased to b updated by Susan regarding her last posting). And then the
"danger" coming up in other mails? Purity and Danger - wasn't that the
subject of Sandy Stone of a few years back? R we just getting to these
issues? Have we gotten left behind? If so, what MORE have we, with a dance
engine running somewhere, got to offer that others may have left
unexplored? (I understand I am ripping things out of context - I am trying
to fathom out the threads).

Well, I'v been trying to compose this mail for about 3 hrs now, and my
eyes'v gone screen-swimming as it's l8. But would just like 2 answer
Johannes on the "permission" thang which I have not had time to do:
I was running on a practical plain and u were on a conceptual plain, I was
not able to follow your lead: to respond to your move with a counteractive
move. Your dance became -damn it, Amanda, mine, -give it to me straight,
Johannes! I did not think I was dancing. You wanted a dancing partner.


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