On the beauty of interactive art
by Falk Heinrich
International Journal of Arts and Technology (IJART), Vol. 1, No. 2, 2008

Abstract: Nowadays, aesthetics and the notion of beauty play an increasingly significant role in interactive art and design products and, consequently, in scientific research in these fields. This paper outlines a rudimentary theory for the notion of the beauty in interactive art. Interactive beauty is identified as a judgment that unfolds at two very different but interrelated levels. The first level consists of the participant's physiological affective judgment of the digital system's output and own actions. This is the basis for performative 'flow'. At the second level beauty is seen as a transcendental phenomenon that manifests itself as the idea of the interactive artefact's potentiality overcoming the rigid limits of the algorithmic systems. The paper concretises the theoretical findings by analysing different interactive artefacts: David Rokeby's Very Nervous System, from the early days of digital interactive art, Art+Com's project and Zerseher and Kirsten Geisler's Virtual Beauties2.2 Touch Me.

Online publication date: Tue, 09-Dec-2008

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