Desire. Interaction. The two ideas are suspended in eternal game-play. Like the mirrored pinball and the flippers, plungers and ball shooters in a flashing machine, or the silk stocking that demands the touch of a fingertip to become itself. What we desire when it comes to new media might be to interact with the work, to let its surfaces enwrap us, to actively participate in the construction of meaning until we are lost in it, at least for the moment. What interaction desires from us might be the opening outwards of genre until there are no longer cubbyholes but labyrinths of possibility, encompassing text, sound, moving image, plying us as we play, blazing paths of bits and light. This folio is meant to exhibit a range of just such static and dynamic works responding, however obliquely, to these notions.
Among the many fine works here are Alexander Stewart’s use of a new medium to rehabilitate an old one. His experimental film is composed of nearly 5000 frames, each a photocopy of the frame that came before, incorporating the idea of degradation and errata into the work. roxanne carter and braxton soderman’s legend is another piece that uses the medium of the web to present a trompe-l’oeil, creating a cascading series of ever smaller windows, each one occluding the one that comes before it, so that we’re forced to remove them, one after the next. This creates a rudimentary narrative and animation, possible to enact only online. Molleindustria’s Every Day the Same Dream is an interactive video game that enacts the life of a “Marcusian One Dimensional Man,” who goes through his quotidian life from wardrobe to wife, traffic jam to cubicle, then back again, in an endless repetition that is both hilarious and horrific. Blair Neal’s 10,000 Items or Less calls forth the concept of the many manifestations of nothingness as articulated in the Tao Te Ching but in this case it’s the world of consumerism that’s on full display. In this dizzying video montage, nearly every item in a grocery store is photographed and collaged together in rapid succession until the viewer/consumer feels her head is going to explode.
Additionally, the tropes of desire and interaction almost always have at its core a relationship between two or more people and in these works we are asked to take an active role in making the messages come alive. It’s also telling that nearly half the works exhibited here have been made collaboratively, proving that online we are no longer flying solo but are somehow lashed together with the same desires and that to achieve the dream of interactivity means to fuse, to come together. Join us in pursuing this aural, visual, textual, and interactive extravaganza.
-Ravi Shankar and rob ray, August 2010