Week 10: Creative Reading Response

“Physical Computing Greatist Hits and (misses)” is a compilation of recurrent physical computing themes that are popular and integrated into many projects. Reading this article at this stage in the class was important for me as I contemplated the range of things one could do with a simple Arduino kit. I do indeed find myself quite compelled to ditch ideas that used common physical interaction principles because they were simply too common. Instead of thinking of the novel ways one could use an input to a sensor, I frequently found myself looking for the least used sensor to incorporate in my future projects. I realize now, after reading the article, that it is more important what one does with input from a human interaction, rather than focusing on the complexity of the circuitry or the parts used. It also allowed me to see the various ways in which one could combine different themes together to create original work (e.g. video mirrors and mechanical movements in Soyoung Park’s Waves of Leaves).

“Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen” establishes a necessary shift of perspective for those who are designing human-computer interactive pieces. As someone who grew up dabbling in artistic projects, from composing poetry in my journal to oil landscape paintings and abstract multi-media pieces to adorn the walls of my room, I reflect on the prescriptive nature of those early artworks. It centered me, the artist, in the meaning-making process of the art. My central focus in making them was that those who came into contact with them were able to easily discern what I wanted them to discern. Designing interactive art, however, involves the ability to make space for the audience to insert themselves into the piece. The trick lies in designing a piece that is effectively able to accommodate all the different reactions it garners. This involves being able to predict people’s possible responses, perhaps aided by some process of user testing, and planning accordingly. Providing users with precisely the minimum amount of guiding context that affords them a sense of agency that operates within the predefined parameters the piece was designed to accommodate is truly an art that is worth mastering.


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