*Diana Domínguez


the presence of interactive systems changes the perception of the world in the digital era. The human practices related to computers and interfaces, their hardware and software provide us some different sensitive moments in biological and emotional aspects. Interactive art explores the behaviour of human bodies and the behaviour of the artificial systems, offering ephemeral connections during people's relationship with technologies and modifies the cultural scene. The main goal is to provoke the dialogue of natural and artificial systems, using technologies to offer their aesthetic dimension. Artistic creations improve enhancing the field of perception, offering other limits for the interfaced body's actions. In the Cyberart context, the sujet interfacé1 radically modifies the situation of the viewer of a painting, a photography, a film, a video and other art media. When human/environment relationship is gradually been done in the cyberspace, the space of computers and networks, their interfaces, architecture and softwares, we live in a technoenvironment or cyberenvironment having other synaesthetic effects provoked by the hybridization of the body and the artificial system.

Cyberartists, being aware of an anthropological revolution from technologies'effects on human social relationships, program the sensitive of complex system not to represent worlds, but to simulate other kinds of worlds. The paradigm of representation, the idea of the beautiful, the contemplation of an image or an object are changed by fields of relation between bodies and computers, among networks, among several bodies connected, amplified, distributed in planetary dimensions, between minds and softwares, in agent minds and agents for the minds. In the process, what matters is interacting, dialoguing, and sharing with internal and external worlds. With interactive art, the idea of closed representation, as the ultimate reality shaped on an object, is no longer valid.

The pre-given exterior world, the closed representations of a painting, an engraving, a video, a sculpture contrast their truths stuck on their supports with the mutability of interactive art. Artists provoke the fall of the sovereignty of the interior I changed by a distributed, connected, networked I, immersed in artificial worlds and determining an augmented, expanded reality. What matters is to attempt conscioussnes'propagations by interacting or acting in and with. To interact demands a total implication with the situation proposed and it presupposes a state of "attentiveness". Interactive art interrogates the existence as a possibility of constantly reinventing life. Vigilance, receptivity, choice, collaboration, control, reenframements, during states of unpredictability, chances, disorders, adaptability among other sensitive moments for those who foresee an interactive system. The connections offer ways of feeling mixing artificial and natural, real and virtual, carbon and silycium, organic and inorganic.

Computer simulations and perceptions arise from interaction and validates the principle of connectivity and the emergency of interactive technologies. Artists have been exploring the dialogue with technologies, aesthetisizing them in order to propose a kind of art in dynamic activities, non hierarchical contexts, which accepts the theories of the agents with which we branch off in search of information, in the artificial intelligence of networks and in every situation proposed by scientific advances responding to the new forms of creation provided by technologies. Creations amplifie the ways of feeling if compared with the art of matter wich separates and isolates the viewer from the artistic object. Paintings, sculptures, drawings determine these separations, and the contemplation and interpretation are made by an I which does not acts and modifie physically the structure matter of art. How can we act in images of a painting, in the texture of a sculpture and exchange with them different states? The art which uses support and materials has dimensions, weight, defined and unchangeable. In this kind of art exterior and interior are definitely marked. We are not allowed to exchange information as it happens with memory units we share with the cyberspace and that put the artistic object in situations of mutation.

Artists work in collaboration with scientists and technicians and explore the behaviour of systems. They attempt at facing hardware and software challenges in order to create interactivity beyond the mouse, the keyboard and the screen. They see the computer as a complex system and no longer as a tool or a mere machine. Interactive artistic works amplifie the representation of nature and phenomena as the excellent examples given from Leonardo, Poussin, Turner, or the cinetisme's possibilities opened by Calder, Tinguely, or the attitudes of participation of Le Parc, Sotto, Oiticica, Lygia Clark. Interactivity allow us to work with the invisible forces and process them, generating fluxes of life, its language and laws connected to the language of cyberspace. Heat, noises, breath, brain waves, voice, touch and other signals of the world connections are programmed by artist's intentions creating systems to generate complex relations where microstructure units regenerate. What arises with the computer are simulated realities , rated from language and calculations, complex operations, intelligent objects, computer networks, virtual environments, multiusers collaborative worlds, robotic bodies and events, artificial life, virtual reality, intelligent agents, avatars as characters we incorporate or other artificial worlds. Different kinds and levels of interactivity can be developed. The creation dialogues with database and establishes the connectivity between machines and humans, processing information in real time and generating states of emergency.

The mutability principle, the come-into-being governs creation in Cyberart. Synthetic worlds, hypermedia structures and associative process of CD ROMs and websites, mutations of interactive objects and installations, collaborative spaces in the web, the telepresence and remote actions in telerobotics spaces or no matter which domain and type of creation with interactive technologies always stress the aesthetic dimension of interactive art. The principles governing creation are mutability, ephemerity, come-into-being in processes, which demand reciprocity, collaboration, shared relationships for the one, which was the viewer of previous artistic manifestations.

structural copulae and interval zones

Interactive art is the art of events (Costa: 1994). The body is involved in events or in eventual and ephemeral situations, fluxes of life, demanding the existence of the body and its performance. The bodies'actions create an interval zone where something will happen in that exact moment, because a body is acting with an interactive system. We inhabit "interval zones", between the body and the technologies. Every artistic proposal puts closer art and life and implies metamorphosis and vital process of art experience. Interfaces put artists just in the middle of the participant's process and they need to offer a system to be provoked by people actions. Artists need to imagine what kind of life they would want people experience during the real time flow. The sensitive apparatus is immersed in constructive processes. It is not only the case of generating knowledge and to fix it on a memory as the given result, but of evolving in mental processes of a technical nature and a human nature. We are coupled, connected and reaffirm the environment's vital regenerating processes.

The performance of every body in these contexts occurs through actions in adhesions and renounces. It is the body thinking and acting. The experience of time is of a complex sort and involves the "copulation" of the biological system and the artificial system in epistemological paradigms which reconfigure substantially making and experiencing art. Interactive Art homologates the ideas of Chilean Contemporary Philosophy related with biology and cognitive process. When connected body experiences cognition and coincides with Varela's2 theories about the body's capability to lead perception through actions The interactive technologies provide us with some in-corporated, in-carnated, lived moments coming from the dialogue with artificial systems If we accept the power of technologies in enlarging the capacity of inventing, creating and imagining, we are acknowledging the loss of authority of the subject, the interior subjectivity, the expressiveness of the "I" which has always normalised art. In particular, we are opposing the exacerbation of the modern subject, the isolated subject and his/her speaking "I".

With technologies in art, just as in every other area of production incorporating them, it is no longer possible to think creation on the basis of a representation built in the inside of the subject isolatedly. We are led to affirm a kind of shared creation, which incorporates the technological. The principle of this art is no longer to show how an "interior I" has generated something in a particular way, as it is not to determine artistic manifestations from the "isms" succeeding in history. According to Roy Ascott, the only legitimate "ism" is based on connection, on production and regeneration of knowledge, what denominates "connectivism"3 that is, a creating shared with the power of machines, which expand our capacities of thinking and acting. People spend a "vigilant attention", through the access opened to the participant by means of devices such a mouse, a keyboard, digital cameras, sensors of all kinds of interfaces having the experience, branching off and modifing the data experienced. Actions of the body in different behaviours by the perceptions of the environment and by actions, which turn into knowledge, modify the data stored and the interagent changes itself. Interacting means updating data of virtual worlds in cyberspace. Interfaces cause the "virtuality of the simulation spaces to slip" in the very moment they are updated. Every interaction foresees a given behaviour of the system prepared for the acquisition and communication of data. The system elaborates and gives back to us information in the form of modified knowledge. Responses are processed between the technological virtual and the biological virtual, generating thought as an ephemeral, mutant truth, updating data into actions generated between humans and computers. The creations explore circuits in random paths, in non-linear situations, in sums of biologic and artificial signs, transforming signs into computing paradigms and their states of complexity. Thus, people by interacting get nearer to the universe and its complexity. The artists now understand the strong behavioural dimension of technologies and generate worlds with "own life" where the unpredictability, the complexity, the chaotic reordering from digital logic circuits interconnected provide us unpredicted and undetermined responses. Different sorts of interfaces and programs are prepared by artists in collaboration with scientists and technicians to offer interactivity. Sensor devices, motion capture systems, voice recognition, gesture recognition, haptic devices, eye tracking, cameras, keyboards, touch screens, infrared sensors, electromagnetic systems, VR head-mounted display, data gloves, sensor effectors are used to connect body and environment to computers.

the poetic of interactive rituals: dreams and incorporations


Diana Domingues: Serie Inmigraciones, 1990


There are a lot of interesting artists working in the field and in different realms of interactive. It is not my intention in this text to take examples from everybody to illustrate every idea or different forms and modalities we have in our cultural context. I just wish to propose a few of ideas about Cyberart and complexity by incorporating issues of computer and interfaces used in art and I will comment three pieces of the cross-disciplinary team of Artecno Research Group -University of Caxias do Sul - that I coordinates and includes artists, biologists, information technology and automa- tion people is to generate interactive environments. We explore some development of microinformation and interfaces that generate events where we find ourselves before the unknown, the magic and its spell power, on the border of deliriums or nightmares of a bad sleeping night. Among these technologies are artificial intelligence, neural networks, telepresence and telerobotics, artificial life and immersion in virtual reality worlds. We provoke artificial systems that allow us to go beyond the limits of the nontechnologized real. We offer networked connections and cyberinstallations with interfaces to be used with the body, which permit to get to simulated worlds and to enhance our human condition. Poetically, we explore some Brazilian cultural issues concerning shamans and native's life4. I emphasize that in Brazilian tribes there are always the shamans or "pagés" that are responsible to manage the health of people, deal with natural phenomena to provoke rain or other communication with the cosmos, because the shamans have special powers regarding the ecosystem. Interactive art also enables artists to manage invisible forces during interactive rituals, where body is coupled to technologies receiving special powers. External memories transform us into potential beings able to exist and to think coupled to machines and connected the implication of body is a hybrid expression of our subjectivities. The interactive artistic pieces we are doing offer some rituals to experience the relationship with the cosmos. We try to stimulate out sensitive states of desires, dreams, ideas, experimenting situations coming back from database of synthetic worlds. By interacting with our pieces people can provoke dynamic processes and can evolve in the interactions, in the order of regenerating simulated phenomena. The creations explore circuits in random paths, in non-linear situations, in sums of biologic and artificial signs, transforming signs into computing paradigms and their states of complexity. Where the unpredictability, the complexity, the chaotic reordering from digital logic circuits interconnected provide us unpredicted and undetermined responses.

Snakes 325 is an interactive installation in a dark room with a transparent glass box and projection of images on the floor over a layer of white marble powder. The interface to interact is a snake's body and people must touch the snake to receive images and sounds. People's touch provokes an adaptive behavior in the snakes's projections using a neural network capability to receive the haptic signals when people are connected to the interface. All this situation is related to native rituals which are used to painting the body with snakes' patterns when perform the rituals. It is the ritual of the snakes.6 Sounds of native rituals and natural noises remind us of primitive ceremonies in which the human desire is to embody animals. The installation intends to offer the aesthetic appeal to incorporate the animal' body and to become a snake by receiving all symbolic meaning. The telematic work OUROBOROS7 is also related to Brazilian rituals and the desire to incorporate animals receiving their powers. When connected, we reach another level of being: that of the reptile, by hyperconnections, immersions, navigations, telepresence, remote actions and self-organizations. We link poetic moments of the Ouroboros great world serpent, encircling the earth, biting, devouring, eating its own tail. "My end is my beginning" is the cyclic nature of the universe: self-fecundation; disintegration and re-integration; truth and cognition, self-regenerations, the unending principle. We interact in four environments:

MEMORIES offers hypermedia memories'wholes on snakes'skins exploring symbolic, scientific, anthropological and artistic aspects of serpents-life.

SERPENTARIUM - telerobotic: telepresence and remote action allows us the seamless condition sharing the body of a robot/snake in serpentarium in Brazil of the Museum of Natural Sciences in the University of Caxias do Sul, in Brazil. Remote participants can move and visualise the same physical space that living snakes when they incorporate a snake-robot that has a coupled webcamera transmiting images of the environment. Using the arrow keys we can send movement orders to the robot, which interprets them, and the result is a trajectory in the serpentarium.

VILLAGE - bestows visual and sound qualities during navigations and immersion in a virtual reality snakes'landscape.





TERRARIUM explores the control of artificial life. The web environment allow us, by using the database and algorithms'behaviors, to provoke, share and control life exploring the unless and seamless of telematic systems. Concerning artificial life, by linking DNA sequences from species of snakes, we generate virtual creatures. The replication of another snake as a clone of memes is automatically sent to any other machine, as well the creatures created by the combination cross-over can be replicated in other machines. The organic simulated behavior of the environment is controlled linking simulated heat and dynamics, artificial food and lifetime.

OUROBOROS TERRARIUM,2002. Artificial life.


OUR HEART, a virtual reality immersive installation, offers a virtual 3D environment where human/technology's dialogues using heartbeats generate graphic and sound landscapes. The immersive experience inside a cave with stereocopic eyeglasses, capture motion system and heart beats capture systems is linked to inputs read from the 3D tracker and presented in the glasses. When interacting the biological heart waves translated into electrical signals are turned into computer paradigms providing body/machine intimate digital dialogue. The system is a responsive environment and the interfaces offers also a proprioceptive correspondence during immersive interactions.

I hope I have presented some conceptual issues of interactive art. The central issues are the complex existence in the art process, the structural copulae between the biological and the artificial, the most intensified possibilities to signals processing by capture and translation, the simulation of life in virtual environments working with evolution, dynamic, virtual meetings, remote actions, natural phenomena, among other situations that create environments with life of themselves. I would like manifestate the expressive capacity of technologies to feed the human sensitive field. by acting at poetic and psychological levels, offering to the body some rituals by performances to be accomplished in couplings with machines in structural copulae, in a biologic and technological context. Artists are accepting Duchamp's proposal: to put art closer to life. That condition enhances the challenges to create more and more interactive systems mixing animal, human, plants, cosmos signals with the technological-virtual. In that way, we will be providing complex interaction between organic and inorganic, natural and artificial, real and virtual.

Integrated Research Group 2002: NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN VISUAL ARTS - ARTECNO- UNIVERSITY OF CAXIAS DO SUL / CNPq. Technical team 2002: Prof. (PhD) Diana Domingues (coordinator); Arts and Communication: Eleandra Gabriela Cavalli IC UCS; Maurício Vazquez PIBIC CNPq; Technical and communication support: Solange Rossa Baldisserotto - AT CNPq and Elisabeth Bianchi UCS; Computer Science: Gustavo Brandalise Lazzarotto (leader programmer) IC CNPQ; Mauricio Passos PIBIC CNPQ; Gelson Cardoso Reinaldo (programmer) UCS– Renato Marangon IC CNPQ; Geovani Pandolfi IC CNPq.

* Diana Domíngues (PhD) is Art Professor at New Technologies in Visual Arts, University of Caixas do Sul diana@visao.com.br




1 Edmond Couchot, expert in interactive art, includes in art discussion the "sujet appareillé" and the "sujet interfacé" where the technical apparatus change art process. See Couchot, Edmond. "La Technologie Dans L'art de la photographie à la réalité virtuelle". Éditions Jacqueline Chambon: Nîmes, 1998.

2 Varela, Francisco, "Il reincanto del concreto". In: Capucci Pier Luigi, " Il Corpo Tecnologico, l'influenza delle technologie sul corpo e sulle sue facoltà", Bologna,Baskerville, 1994.

3 See Roy Ascott, ideas about interactive art.

4 ESCOBAR, Ticio. "La Maldicion de Nemur". Departamento de Documentacion e Investigaciones, Centro de Artes Visuales/Museu del Barro, Imprenso en Imprenta Editorial Arte Nuevo, Asunción - Paraguay, 1999.

5 "Snakes 32" is a software developed by the Computer Science fellow in Artecno team, Gustavo Brandalise Lazzarotto IC CNPq and Gelson Cardoso Reinaldo.

6 Sounds of native rituals and natural noises remind us of primitive ceremonies in which the human desire is to embody animals.

7 Ouroboros has been invited and participated at the 25 Bienal Internacional de São Paulo, NET ART, curated by Christine Mello and Rudolf Frieling http://artecno.ucs.br/ouroboros




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