The Ambition of Interactivity
Author: Zhenzhen Qi
First published on BLINK 布林客 Magazine, 2017 March issue.
So sinful; So good
As an art viewer, I am constantly drawn towards digitally interactive artworks. When I visited the 2017 Whitney Biennale, it was as if my legs grew a mind of their own and dragged the rest of me towards the VR
films by Jordan Wolfson and kinetic sculptures by Jon Kessler.
!(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/Tny2vzgTClxm0EPVX-cF6ceVc- OaJbRsHuJrcQCApmiNh_8ynKQQisMXKeZz4_ABzQ00XvQKE8j7phts3SdaMfJ5MCZalCKm_ZBbZ_m6YyYchXrQBt9kYtVCzlaBcf9tuA24d9rq) !(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/xaLtVr4SYhOE7o0H597jmp07ggsZzs2vcmFbslyoZLef6R90z0wuNTIc- Ca8oQW-5nX3_zMqqAYek22g0HeRkY- PhObFBxwCodXX9EuK2iz52PtAgX6RXAtscsC6uvlVCA_mhUC2)
However, as an artist who appreciates witty concepts and good laughs, I am often ashamed. In 2014, fresh out of graduate school, I began working on a commercial project with a few video game developers. My task was to program a starry sky which coordinates with body motion captured by an Xbox kinect body sensor. Strangely, somewhere deep inside of me, I couldn’t help feeling ashamed. As I waved my hands and enjoyed the spectacle of a whole room of digital stars gravitating to the motion of my body, it was as if in some dark corner, the haunting spirit of Vincent Van Gogh looked down on me with his piercing gaze and howled into the deepest void of my soul, “ou shallow little human, getting devoured by simple satisfaction!”.
As a New Media Art lecturer, I often assign writings from art theorists to my own students, such as Gustav Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space. . I admired Bachelard’s depiction of the poetic object , of how, through a sincere admiration, we can enter into an alternative relationship with everyday objects. Through intimate contact, these objects become the “interface” for their inhabitant to move freely between the “immediate” and the “grandeur”. Compared to what Bachelard described, the “waving your