Reading reflection – Week #9

In his exploration of interactive art “Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen”, Tigoe suggests that meaningful interactive experiences emerge from a delicate combination of guidance and freedom of the participant. He offers an analogy of a director working with actors to illustrate the importance of subtly suggesting intentions without imposing rigid interpretations. Such comparison sparks a reflection about the setting and design of interactive artworks, which drives a question as to how much guidance is sufficient to provide a context without overshadowing individual interpretation? What is the role of physical space and how can an artist set up a design that encourages curiosity and discovery without the need of dictating the narrative? Furthermore, does the setup of the artwork influence the participant’s emotional connection as well as one’s interpretation of the artwork?

This nicely ties in with the “Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and misses)” reading. The part about Theremin-like instruments caught my attention, where the author mentions the importance of gestures being meaningful when a participant interacts with the artwork (gesture of moving your hand over a sensor vs a glove where one taps his fingers to make a rhythm). It makes complete sense that less guidance is required when a setup matches with some kind of pre-existing mental model. It highlights the interconnected nature of physical computing and interactive art, emphasizing the importance of aligning design choices with participants’ intuitive understanding for a more seamless and engaging interactive experience.

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