Interactive art usually contains computers, sensors, and other devices that allow the art and the user to interact with each other. Video and computer games have brought a different set of artists to the field. The tools have changed as well with the advent of voice analyzers, robotics, actuators, LED's, and etc.
Is the line between real reality and virtual reality getting blurred? Virtual describes the animated form and how closely it resembles the original. Users and the environment interact freely with each other in worlds that are replicas of our own environments. When we watch movies, we are watching real actors but in a virtual landscape or scene. Is this really different from watching the animatronics characters? Mixed reality refers to environments or situations that contain elements from both the virtual and the real world. The two are entwined to create the optimal effect on the user.
Computer and Video Games, Interactive Art?
One question on everyone's mind is, are interactive video and computer games really a form of interactive art? Gamasutra, a gaming company, held a conference in early 2010 to look at the prospect of gaming and whether or not it should be classified as art. Charles Pratt (2010) in the web article, "The Art History... Of Games? A New Conference, Romero Explain," reports, "The overall event is a three-day public symposium in which, according to organizers, "members of the fields of game studies, art history and related areas of cultural studies gather to investigate games as an art form." Games can be looked at from the perspective of being sculptural from the viewpoint of the worlds built inside the game, visual from the viewpoint of the graphics and animation, and the technical viewpoint. The last viewpoint is from the stand-point of player whose control and ability within the scope of the game makes him more powerful than the designer.
Organizers of the event also brought up the fact that a lot of designs inside the games actually come from inspiration drawn off of art in galleries and museums. (Pratt, 2010) The game designer is a craftsman or woman who pursued a vision the same as any other artist would.
Interactive Artist: Daniel Rozin
The interactive artist chosen by this paper's writer is Daniel Rozin. An artist,
developer, and educator, Rozin works in the digital interactive art field. His works change and respond to the viewer's presence or viewpoint. Rozin is known for the ability to camouflage computer being used so it is rarely seen. The piece usually takes on the user as the content of the work.
Rozin was born in Jerusalem in 1961 and educated as an industrial designer. He has been exhibited in the United States and around the world. The holder of numerous awards and published in various publications. Living in New York, "as educator, Rozin is Associate Art Professor at ITP, Tisch School Of The Arts, NYU where he teaches such classes as: "The World- Pixel by Pixel," "Project Development Studio" and "Toy Design Workshop." (Rozin, 2010) Smoothware Design is a company owned by Rozin and where he develops software that supports and assists both the multimedia and the interactive art businesses.
Rozin created the "Wooden Mirror" in 1999. Rozin reports, the piece was the first mechanical mirror built (Figure 1) and experimented on whether the digital and physical line of the design could be met. Wood is used to represent the digital pixels.
Rozin, in describing the mechanism behind the design, states "The 4 mechanical mirrors are made of various materials but share the same behavior and interaction; any person standing in front of one of these pieces is instantly reflected on its surface. The mechanical mirrors all have video cameras, motors and computers on board and produce a soothing sound as the viewer interacts with them." (Rozin 2010) Siggragh.org (2010) in an interview with Rozin quote him as saying, "I was hoping to take the computational power of a computer and video camera, and seamlessly integrate them into the physicality, warmth and beauty of a wooden mirror. The piece reflects any object or person in front of it by organizing the wooden pieces."
Rozin has numerous mechanical mirrors including the "Weave Mirror, Trash Mirror, Shiny Balls Mirror, Circles Mirror, Peg Mirror and Mirrors Mirror." He also has other types of interactive art such as: Software Mirrors, Video Paintings, Glass Sculpture, and Proxxi Prints; all of which can be found on the website, Smoothware.com.
Rozin has also created a new type of software called TrackThemColors which he describes as an Xtra for Macromedia Director. (Core77, 2010) The software tracks motion and video for the artists performing physical computing. The Director can use live video in correlation with other graphics blending them together to make elaborate environments and schemes. The technology is simple enough for beginners with no computer knowledge to be able to operate it. Rollins tells Core77(2010) that in regards to his software, "Most of the uses of TTC that I am aware of are made for artistic expression; there are many other possibilities such as alternative input devises for computers, assistive technology for people with disabilities, and scientific research." Other developments made by Rollins and described by him are according to Rollins' own words:
"Besides TTC, I also developed VideoMask, an Xtra that uses live video and lets you add "blue screen" effects to place the video in a different setting. Also I have BluImage that lets you apply PhotoShop style filters to any graphic in director and AdjustColors that lets you adjust brightness, contrast, saturation and RGB levels of any graphic in Director." (core77. 2010)
Other Interactive Artists
Other notable interactive artists and information on them as acquired from interactiveartists.blogspot.com (2010) will be mentioned in this section of the paper. This will give more insight into the world of Interactive Art.
Chris Shea is a creator of experiences that perceptually challenges the spaces and objects seen. He creates for the private sector companies as well as public institutions. He authored "Pixelsumo" and is one if the cofounders of "This Happened" an event series. Interactiveartists.blogspot.com (2010) reported, "In 2006 he was the guest curator of the Cybersonica exhibition and in 2007 received a commission for Designers in Residence at the London Design Museum." He has done work for numerous clients in various fields.
Christopher Bauder was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1973. Educated at the University of the Art Berlin in the digital class studies, he began to work in Berlin in the interactive installation art and design field. He uses space, object, sound, and interaction in his transferring of bits and bytes into reality and vice versa.
Gullherme Martins uses ActionScript, Processing, Arduino, MAXMSP, and PD in the field of Digital Art- Interaction Design. He is involved in drawing, sketching, painting, experimental robots, sound, and physical computing.
Olga Mink is working in the field of video, new media, interactive art, and live performance. She collaborates with musicians, engineers, architects, and artists to create digital media physical representations and immersion. Mink states, "I explore new possibilities in digital representation. With a strong emphasis to conceptual approaches, my work crosses boundaries between music, photography, architecture, poetry, nature, public spaces, engaged themes." interactiveartists.blogspot.com (2010)
Golan Levin is a performance artist and software engineer and is afore runner in the field of creating new parameters for art. He uses computers to build elaborate soundscapes that correspond with spectacular visuals.
Theo Watson, artist, designer, and experimenter much like Daniel Rozin, creates experiences that come alive and invite the user to interact. He invents tools for musical systems, artistic expression and full body interactive environments. According to Theo, "His recent work includes the Graffiti Research Lab's Laser Tag, laser graffiti system and Funky Forest, an immersive interactive ecosystem for young children and works together with Zachary Lieberman on openFrameworks, which is an open source library for writing creative code." interactiveartists.blogspot.com (2010)
Kacie Kinzer, artist and developer, is using her interest in how everyday narratives can interact and communicate with technology. She helps people to interact with stories to better preserve and experience the stories. Kinsey has a background which consists of English, Communication, and Environmental Design.
Shane Cooper specializes in creating and enhancing computer generated art and interactive installations. His work in special effects has been seen in movies like, King Kong and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He uses viewers he records in the art.
Mehmet Akten creates memorable and emotional experiences as a visual artist, musician, and designer. He creates new instruments through technology and enhances the way visuals and sounds are perceived while being performed. Interactiveartists.blogspot.com (2010) reports that Akten is:
Strongly influenced by trying to understand the world around us - the mathematics and laws of nature, and how we interact with it - his fields of special interest are human-computer interaction, computer vision, generative algorithms, computational design combined with traditional music and visual design methodologies and narrative.