Communicative issues of Interactive multimedia art: Audience and Partivipation
A recent inflation in the lexical field of participation and a more incentive tone are characterising the institutional discourses of the contemporary art sphere. Encounters with interactive and multimodal pieces of art are qualified as participatory, insofar as the pieces must be turned on so that they acquire the status of artwork (Bando, 2003). The calls to participate physically seem to be leading to a values shift, from practice to scientific rationality, from interaction (face to face) to interactivity with machine. It is important to note that interactivity does not always bring interactions. Interactivity takes on a technical interest because of its programmatic nature (Habermas, 1973): it circumscribes the scope of the public. This heightened bodily involvement can highlight an ambivalence for the visitor between his desire to be autonomous and his research into reproducing good practices to socialise himself and share experiences. Some factors such as sociability, multi-modality and visitor creativity, which are increasingly being introduced into art exhibits, would change the audience statute. My PhD project aims to analyse the construction of the public‘s representations in this context, where the visitor appears as a coproducer (Bourriaud, 2001). The visitor’s body engagement gives a visual image of the piece of art appropriation: it makes it observable. Therefore, the body’s image is taking importance in the aesthetic experience as reaching a social network experience : the interpersonal communication is made through the front of visitors. The network experience would redefine the intimacy, the expressiveness and the articulation between the individual identity and the interpersonal structure (Mercklé, 2011). Thus, my research question is: how do visitors appropriate the artistic devices that require physical contact, movement and self-exhibition in a network experience? This is related to several areas of investigation. First, it refers to the representations of visitors about body policies in cultural places. This is how my research provides a historical context for the body policies which deal with the opposition between participation and representation. Second, participation leads to belief in the creation of social bonds, i.e. relies on a visitor’s representations about sociability policies in cultural places. Finally, through the participatory dimension, works of art are becoming ephemeral, random, evolutionary and convertible. How do visitors link the participatory pieces of art to standards? According to Adorno and Benjamin, the conditions required to distinguish art from mass media are the uniqueness and the social connections exteriority of the piece of art, which seems outdated and normative but which would nevertheless have shaped present-day representations, as a continuous process. Methodological inspiration comes from the exhibition’s ethnography, highly thought out by Elseo Veron and Martine Levasseur, including a combination of experience narratives with observations. It is my intention to clarify the way visitors perceive the social role and position of actors, themselves and the artistic authority, as far as is given form through the interactions and the representations of multimodality in art.