Art Games: Interactivity and the Embodied Gaze

Elizabeth Ann Coulter-Smith

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


One of the most salient differences between fine art and new media art lies in the possibility for interactivity. Interactivity is not simply an inherent quality of new media, it also relates to a crucial ethico-aesthetic premise informing deconstructive art from Dada and Surrealism through radical art of the 1960s and 1970s and into the present. The ethico-aesthetic premise in question concerns breaking down the barrier between the viewer and the work of art and bringing art into life. More specifically the goal is to bring creativity into everyday life as an antidote to alienation and reification. Whereas new media art finds it relatively easy to devise art games that encourage creative involvement on the part of the viewer, fine art is severely hindered in its attempts in this direction by the traditional focus on the artist-genius and the transformation of the artistic product (whatever its material) into a precious object. It will be shown that creative games exist in fine art but they are for the most part designed by the artist for the artist. This is even the case with the most radical fine artists celebrated at the turn of the millennium such as Rirkrit Tiravanija who Nicolas Bourriaud put forward as a prime instance of so-called relational aesthetics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTechnoetic Arts
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006


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