Like the title says, the works in this exhibition are interactive art, experiential works in which the spectator will only discover the full meaning through active participation. Indeed, if the viewer does not take an active role, they will miss the deeper meaning and interest of the work. On the other hand, depending on just how he participates the viewer may even create expressions that the artist herself had not considered.
Compared to the last two "Interaction" exhibitions, the artists taking part this time are considerably younger, though. The artists last time were what could be called the first generation pioneers of the interactive art world, who started working in the early 80's, while this time the feeling has been completely rejuvenated and there are artists among the group who are still graduate students. These are young artists who express their newer talents through their innovative programming or interface design works. They include students and teachers from MIT and ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) of NYU, and also artist and member of the Interval Research Corporation in Palo Alto on the West coast of the USA, all artists working on the boundaries between art and technology.
The artists-in-residence here at IAMAS will also be showing their new works. And in complete contrast, there is a series of works by the Italian group Studio Azzurro, who have been active worldwide creating video installations since the 1980's. The work presented this time is a recent piece based on the classic painting of the mid 15th century, and will leave a profound impression on the viewers. This variation in the works will be a special feature of the exhibition. Unlike with standard video installations, Studio Azzurro too have recently been working with new interfaces and have begun to make interactive art works that require audience participation. If you look closely at their work there is a very subtle difference in their use of the interface, or the thinking behind it, compared to the other artists. In fact the very existence of these complex, varied works makes us stop and rethink the potential for interactive art in the future.
Contemporary multimedia art, whilst depending to a greater or lesser extent on digital technology behind the scenes, if anything is pushing the computer into the shadows, and more and more artists are pursuing works that anyone can docilely enjoy. Whilst holding the future legacy for artist's traditions and spirit, one gets the feeling that these are artists who, in order to appeal to the hearts of as broad a group of people as possible, have shrugged off the stiff, forced nature of much art, and are moving towards creating more human works, that one can experience with one's whole body, using one's 5 senses. And in that case, it is going to be more and more important to come up with skillful interface designs that connect that digital technology in the shadows with the analog senses that the human body has to work with. This exhibition aims to be a show that raises the question of the future of that media art with the audience.