[ISEA96] Paper: Ryszard Kluszczynski – The Context Is the Message: Interactive Art as a Medium of Communication


Long Paper

A distinction between two kinds of communication: transmission and interaction, based on the concept of shared space (physical or virtual), leads to another distinction: face-to-face communication and mediated one. The latter can assume one of three possible variants: mediated transmission, quasi-direct mediated communication, or indirect mediated communication. The most of types of the interactlve art are related to the last of those three models. The context of interaction – the product of the artist, which plays at the same time the role of partner of recipient’s interaction – is the only message in the mediated indirect communication. The interaction creates an artwork – a result of creative behavlour of the
recipient. A contact and the interaction have been separated. Between the recipient and
the artefact/context occurs the intrapersonal communication. It can also appear in the
space between the artist/sender and his/her product – artefact.

Key words: communication (direct. mediated, Indirect, quasi-direct), connection, interaction, interactive art, mediation, transmission.


Interactive art can be recognized – in the framework of classic theories of communication with their three unit model (sender – message – receiver) – as a medium that is unable to communicate. The more active a recipient becomes, the less possibility for communication an artist/sender can keep for himself/herself. On the other hand still treat the interactive media as medium of expression, and their works beccan happen in spite of the medium’s interactivity, or whether the interactivity creates a new way (and a new model) of communication. In the latter case we have to consider once more what are the functions of all elements involved in the process of an artistic (and non-artistic) interactive communication. We should also examine classic theories of communication to find out if any of them can be used to describe the model of interactive art communication. Among them the Roman Jacobson’s model seems to be promising, with its chance to consider the context as a message in the communication process. This [takes into] account that the identity of a recipient’s partner of communication is different than the one of interaction. The first role is played by the artist/sender, the latter – by the hypertext which is a base for the artefact. We must also analyze the way in which two models of communication: intrapersonal and mediated interpersonal create together interactive art communication. academia.edu/4801569/THE_CONTEXT_IS_THE_MESSAGE._Interactive_art_as_a_medium_of_communication

  • Ryszard W. Kluszczynski, PhD, Poland, professor at Film and Media Department, University of Lodz, Poland and Media Art Curator, Centre for Contemporary Art – Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland.

Full text p.36-40