[ISEA2011] Paper: Andy Best – T/Act: empowerment through physical interaction with media art works


This paper presents my research into the sociological effects of physical interaction with audiovisual systems in controlled interactive environments. Can a disruption or disturbance of insitutionalised conditioning according to class, education, gender and physical abilities be orchestrated by careful design and presentation of the interactive artwork? How can a physical interactive environment facilitate the experience of a temporary autonomous grouping in a similar way to that experienced in online communities? Can the artwork create a community of presence, an opportunity for living in the moment leading to unpredictable (inter)activity within the social group? The artistic TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone) acts as a revealing agent within society using the tools of poetic terrorism to disrupt the status quo.

My research compares interactive environments made for the general population with results from works made through a collaborative design process with selected individuals with severe physical disabilities. Both sets of work encourage and enable creative expression by the participants beyond everyday norms. The aim is to enable deep audience participation in live performance through the control of audiovisual and robotic elements.

By contrasting the generic with the specific, the research uncovers new information about the benefits, desire, and motivation to interact with complex technologically driven systems, as well as proposals for rules and methods for the creation of artistic communities of presence.

  • Andy Best (Finland) is a media artist, sculptor and doctoral researcher, specialising in playful and provocative interactions in physical spaces such as galleries and museums, in the public city space, as well as in the online virtual realm of cyberspace.  Andy is one half of the acclaimed artist duo Andy and Merja, a collaboration with his wife and partner Merja Puustinen. Andy’s work is powerful, provocative and often tackles social and political themes in playful, physical ways. andyandmerja.com      Video: FLE5H0.1

Full text (PDF) p. 210-215