What is interactive art? Is this a genre? A medium? An art movement? Must a work be physically active to be classified as such, or do we interact when we sense and make sense? Is a switch-throw or link-click enough - I do this, and that happens - or must subjects and objects be confused over time? Is interaction multiple in its engagements (relational), or a one-to-one reaction (programmed)? Are interactive designs somehow more democratic and individualized than others, or is that merely a commercial strategy to sell products and ideas?
This book argues that interactive art frames moving-thinking-feeling as embodiment; the body is addressed as it is formed, and in relation. Interactive installations amplify how the body's inscriptions, meanings, and matters unfold out, while the world's sensations, concepts, and matters enfold in. Interactive artwork creates situations that enhance, disrupt, and alter experience and action in ways that call attention to our varied relationships with and as both structure and matter.
Nathaniel Stern's inspirational book, Interactive Art and Embodiment, outlines how new media has the ability to intervene in, and challenge, not only the construction of bodies and identities, but also the ongoing and emergent processes of embodiment, as they happen. It includes immersive descriptions of a significant number of interactive artworks and over 40 colour images.
The theorists, artists, practitioners and curators discussed in this text include Brian Massumi, Christiane Paul, Sarah Cook, Beryl Graham, Kelli Fuery, Theodore Watson, William Kentridge, Char Davies, Stelarc, Janet Cardiff, Carlo Zanni, Tero Saarinen, Karen Barad, Daniel Rozin, Richard Schechner, Nicole Ridgway, Rebecca Schneider, Annie Sprinkle, Karen Finley, VALIE EXPORT, The Guerrilla Girls, Tegan Bristow, Brian Knep, Anna Munster, Zach Lieberman, Golan Levin, Simon Penny, Camille Utterback, Jean-Luc Nancy, The Millefiore Effect, Nick Crossley, Mathieu Briand, Scott Snibbe, David Rokeby, José Gil, Erin Manning, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Norah Zuniga Shaw
Introduction: Art Philosophy
Chapter 1: Digital is as Digital Does
Chapter 2: The Implicit Body as Performance
Chapter 3: A Critical Framework for Interactive Art
Chapter 4: Body-Language
Chapter 5: Social-Anatomies
Chapter 6: Flesh-Space
Chapter 7: Implicating Art Works
In Production: Companion Chapter
Nathaniel Stern is an artist and writer, Fulbright grantee and professor, interventionist and public citizen. He has produced and collaborated on projects ranging from ecological, participatory and online interventions, interactive, immersive and mixed reality environments, to prints, sculptures, videos, performances and hybrid forms. His book, Interactive Art and Embodiment: The Implicit Body as Performance, takes a close look at the stakes for interactive and digital art, and his ongoing work in industry has helped launch dozens of new businesses, products and ideas. Stern has been featured in the likes of the Wall Street Journal, Guardian UK, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Washington Post, Daily News, BBC's Today show, Wired, Time, Forbes, Fast Company, Scientific American, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Leonardo Journal of Art, Science and Technology, Rhizome, Furtherfield, Turbulence, and more. According to Chicago's widely popular Bad at Sports art podcast, Stern has "the most varied and strange bio of maybe anyone ever on the show," and South Africa's Live Out Loud magazine calls him a "prolific scholar" as well as artist, whose work is "quite possibly some of the most relevant around." Dubbed one of Milwaukee's "avant-garde" (Journal Sentinel), Stern has been called "an interesting and prolific fixture" (Artthrob.co.za) behind many "multimedia experiments" (Time.com), "accessible and abstract simultaneously" (Art and Electronic Media web site), someone "with starry, starry eyes" (Wired.com) who "makes an obscene amount of work in an obscene amount of ways" (Bad at Sports). According to Caleb A. Scharf at Scientific American, Stern's art is "tremendous fun" but also "fascinating" in how it is "investigating the possibilities of human interaction and art."
Stern is an Associate Professor of Art and Design in Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, and a Research Associate at the Research Centre, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg.