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A Companion to Digital Art by Christiane Paul

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13Interactive Art: Interventions in/to Process

Nathaniel Stern

Introduction: Bodies in Process

When we move and think and feel, we are, of course, a body. This body is constantly changing, in and through its ongoing relationships. This body is a dynamic form, full of potential. It is not “a body,” as thing, but embodiment as incipient activity. Embodiment is a continuously emergent and active relation. It is our materialization and articulation, both actual and virtual: as they occur, and about to occur. Embodiment is moving-thinking-feeling; it is the body’s potential to vary; it is the body’s relations to the outside. It is per-formed, rather than pre-formed. And embodiment is what is staged in the best interactive art.

This chapter looks closely at works by contemporary artists Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Camille Utterback, and Scott Snibbe, who each have us encounter the body and its ongoing emergence with other matter and materials. While Lozano-Hemmer frames the mutual emergence of bodies and space, Utterback highlights how signs and bodies require one another to materialize, and Snibbe accents bodies (plural) as they manifest along with the communities they inhabit. I use these and other artists’ works to intermittently differentiate between the interactivity of digital systems and relational emergence; to clarify the different levels and strategies of interaction or engagement with digital technologies; and to look toward the future of what the category “interactive art” may ...

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