[ISEA94] Paper: Mika Tuomola – Towards New Structures


There’s a great postmodernist fuss around new interactive media. Media event after another, we hear about non-linearity, free association of ideas through new media, postructuralism et cetera. What actually lies behind the “revolutionary” expressions? Is electronic art truly giving up the story lines, the thematic intention of an artist and the well-considered dramatic structure of a presentation? If so, I fail to find the development desireable.

Fortunately, I cannot see we are going in such a direction. The postmodernist vocabulary is wildly exaggerated and gives a wrong picture of the true development of the field. In my presentation I intend to reveal some of the many fallacies of postmodernist thinking as I’m speculating the actual future of interactivity. The future will most probably not be a chaos without structures and contents, which have throughout the ages been the foundation of all art.
Rather it will the time of new, more complicated structures and fascinating contents.
As an example from the interactive film art, I can foresee a new concept of action emerging. The Aristotlian dramatic rule has finally been broken: action is no longer bound to a certain place at a certain time. There can be simultaneous events and a certain event may occur, according to a viewer’s choice, in very different places and times. By showing different possibilites of a character’s action, interactivity in the movies has a unique chance to emphasize the alternatives
of action, interactivity in the movies has a unique chance to emphasize the alternatives of actions and consequences.
The viewer can actually be made responsible for the choices. I believe this to change revolutionally our relationship towards invented reality -perhaps towards reality itself.  Whatever the postmodernists cry out loud, don’t worry: the sky is not falling. We’ll still tell stories, though they might be structured differently. We’ll practise free association of ideas with interactive devices as we have practised it with other artwork before. We’ll still create art that reflects reality by structuring it. Though the tools may change, our job remains basically the same – the job is, as Hamlet puts it: “– to hold the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.”

  • Mika Tuomola [1971-2016] student at the Media Lab of the University of Art and Design Helsinki (UIAH), Finland. Organizer of the Shakespeare in Hypermedia project, collaborator in the Hyper-Hamlet CD ROM.