Leonardo Abstracts Service | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

Leonardo Abstracts Service

  • Lawhead, Emily "Networks of Experience: Interactive Digital Art in the 21st Century." PhD , University of Oregon, 2022
    Keywords/Fields of Study : Contemporary art; Digital art; Interactivity; Network theory; New media

    Abstract: Networks of Experience: Interactive Digital Art in the 21st Century considers interactivity in digital art practices. Emerging technologies advance so quickly that artworks using such technologies are not fully understood. Digital artworks are susceptible to unprecedented threats, including technology obsolescence, file incompatibility, and software updates that might considerably alter the artwork in a matter of months. However, immaterial characteristics such as interactivity are often overlooked in the panic of preserving physical technologies. Software and hardware do not always indicate how interactive a work should be, if it involves one or many participants at once, or how exhibition space should facilitate interaction. In this dissertation, I establish a framework to quantify and prioritize the many ways in which participants interact with artworks that make use of digital technologies. I propose a three-part typology – individual interactive experience, collective interactive experience, and distributed interactive experience – as illustrated with case studies including the VR artwork The Chalkroom (2017) by Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang, the immersive digital exhibition Continuity (2021-2022) by the Japanese “ultratechnologist” collective teamLab, and the social media performance Excellences & Perfections (2013) by Amalia Ulman. The project offers clarity to the nature of interactivity, with an eye to long-term preservation when digital artworks are on display, on loan, or acquired in museum collections.

    Department: History of Art & Architecture , University of Oregon
    Advisor(s): Kate Mondloch