Reading Set 1

From Rituals to Magic: Interactive Art and HCI of the Past, Present, and Future by Jeon et al.

Within the article I found the section on interaction and interactivity to be the most interesting. Specifically, the explanation on the distinction between “quasi interactivity” and “full interactivity.” Prior to this I had not considered categorizing interaction based upon whether previous communication had occurred. The idea of these different forms of interaction also made me think about how we develop AI and how it can either be strictly reactive or can be developed such that it develops a knowledge base and draws from it in future interactions.

Questions about how much an artist’s work advances the field of art, brought up within the exploration of creativity, also held my interest. Work that does not push the boundaries of a field is likely to be looked over. The connection between computer science and artistic practices was yet another key point. Although game and software development and artistic endeavors have caused me to use the three creative thinking tools listed time and again, I have never made the connection between their use in the two areas.

Overall, I found that the article to have a valuable focus on how the practices within HCI and interactive art can improve each other. However, I also think that much of what the authors had to say could have been stated more succinctly and that they were overly reliant on their sources.

Tangible Bits: Towards Seamless Interfaces between People, Bits, and Atoms by Ishii and Ullmer

As presented in the article, I find that some of what the authors present as having some potential, if limited. Quite obviously, their idea of “interactive surfaces” has come to fruition in an improved way in the form of touch screens. However, the other goals of “coupling bits and atoms” and “ambient media” seem to me to be an impractical pipe dream. Much of our digital technologies have been created to take the place of analogue tools because the analogue was less efficient or intuitive, while Ishii and Ullmer looked to reintroduce these elements.

The authors mention that “in the real world, when a process that was not a focus of attention catches our interest, we are often able to seamlessly integrate it into our activity.” In response to this I ask how are our interactions with current digital interfaces less part of the “real world” than the ways they suggest we will interact with Tangible User Interfaces? I struggle to see what real world applications many of the proposed versions of tangible interfaces would be.

The concepts which the article presents cause me to wonder what long term consequences there may be on human cognitive function, specifically related to our ability to focus our attention, should the author’s vision of bringing “background bits” to the “periphery of human perception” become more real. To me, Tangible User Interfaces, at least on the scale of the ambient media idea, mostly seem like a pathway to quick and substantial sensory overload.

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