Valerie van Zuijlen
Interactive Cinema and New Media
Sep 30th, 2019
Blogpost group presentation
The complete art-in-tact komplett (Hate Cantz) is an interactive CD-ROMagazin. The disc consisting of pioneering works of interactive media art along with original essays from 1994 to 1999. In total 15 artworks, which offers the viewer a chance to enjoy this virtual museum of seminal media art achievements. The title of “art-in-tact” may suggest the preservation of interactive artworks which remain to stay intact. In order to play the disc in the year of 2019, I had to use an emulator which enables a Mac computer to enhance the original Windows PC in order to play the disc. When the disc was loaded, the first view consisted of a dice centered on my screen. I could rotate and tumble it with the movement of my mouse and click on one of the six colored surfaces. This “flat” object visualized on the 2D computer screen, appeared to become spatial through my movement. The first “virtual” user interaction I experienced. I browsed through all the games on the disc, however, sometimes there was not a visual “exit” or “leave” button so I had to force escape several times in order to be able to play another interactive work. And while writing this down the ability “to play” instead of using the phrasing “to see”, moreover reflects my entire experience of the artintact. The artworks I mostly favored had a higher level of “playability” in relation to the works I exited rather soon. There was a differentiation between the component of interactivity in terms of actually trying to figure out what you had to do or what you were supposed to be doing, in relation to the works you moreover had to observe. To identify this category of “interactive” observing, I picked the following two artworks by Masaki Fujihata’s “Impalpability” (1998, Artintact 4) and Miroslaw Rogala “Lovers Leap” (1994/95, Artintact 2). Both works share a similarity in using innovative technologies to alternate perspectives, through a spatial component, as visually apparent through the use of spheres.
“Impalpability” (Masaki Fujihata, 1998, Artintact 5)
Detailed images of sections of human skin form the surface of a ball which the viewer can rotate at will by manipulating the mouse. The abstract yet physical/sensorial impression roused by the ball disturbingly arises the question of what, exactly, one is touching; the mouse or the image? Image or flesh? The artwork starts with a compiled display of several “balls”, you click on a ball of choice, as it enlarges and enables you to control it by the movement of your mouse. While gazing at the first ball of skin, it reminds me of my own skin that touches and rotates on top of the mouse in order to make the ball spin. Ever as the visual imprint of my thumb, or in this matter of probably Fujihata’s thumb is wrapped around the spinning ball. In total the work consists of nine balls, each topped with a different layer of skin, different body parts, re-configuring the entire human body. The title of “impalpable” can be defined as for being not palpable; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch; intangible, difficult for the mind to grasp readily or easily. As I perceived the artwork “Impalpability” as somewhat an attempt to define a relationship between virtual movement and the physical touch. As Fujihata argues the daily use of computers, as it makes us think, react and distinguish increasingly through the interface. He gives us through his work a “sense” of a “virtual sensation”. As for that, the movement of the thumb is visible as a flexible visual field on the screen.
Miroslaw Rogala “Lovers Leap” (1994/95)
Rogala processed photographs of a busy street-crossing in Chicago to create a totally novel perspective. The CD-ROM enables continues 360-degree navigation through this alien cityscape. My experience with this piece was quite disoriented at first, as I entered the cityscape and through my mouse movement of scrolling in and out, as for skewing forwards and backward, I enabled myself to view other sceneries in the form of 360 photographs. Mostly photographs containing buildings and some with closeups of actual people. As the title of the work “Lovers Leap” made me interested in the background of the work. By doing somewhat more research online I found an interview on Rogala’s earlier showcase of the actual work as installation at V2 gallery in the Netherlands back in 1995. Originally the work was constructed as an installation, in which photographs, captured on his way from Chicago to Jamaica, appear on large video screens. An inversed-reversed perspective is utilized, exhibiting opposite views. Cameras determine the viewer’s position so that when he/she moves, the video images change accordingly. Personally, “Lovers Leap” can be explained as a narrative between two lovers, as for two perspectives, through two forms of viewer movement. One; movement through places, geographically through the pictures of Chicago and Jamaica. Two; movements through perspective, as skewing in and out of the 360 photographs. As I enter the place as for being immersed within the photograph, I not only am a viewer, I become a visitor. In order to “leap” into another photograph, another place, I have to make actual physical movement through my mouse control. But when I, the visitor standstill, the control over what is happening diminishes. New landscapes suddenly appear, and again I become a viewer, being unable to do anything. Rogala argues within the interview that when the visitor/viewer relinquishes control, the more abstract associative and conceptual levels start influencing things. As he states: “Many will leave without having claimed their power. That happens in matters of love as well.”
In relation to this week’s readings, I would like to bring the use of the 360 navigation in relation to the panoramic view as mentioned within the article of Söke Dinkla “The Art of Narrative”. As for the panorama, being a circular painting which encompasses the whole field of vision of the observer. It’s a 360 angle conveying the illusion of a wide horizon. As for the perfect illusion of space as its distinguishing character. Particularly I liked Dinkla’s reference to Johann August Eberhard, who describes the effects of the panorama in the following way: “I vacillate between reality and non-reality, between nature and non-nature, between truth and illusion. My thoughts, my spirits experiencing a swinging, vacillating, fluctuating movement, which causes the same effect as going in round or the rolling of a ship. That is how I explain the dizziness and nausea that strikes the steadfast observer of the panorama. I feel as if I were entangled in the webs of a contradictory dream world.” As for the panorama is perceived as a world between worlds, where unique aesthetic experiences are possible. It is not a world determined by the familiar temporal order but is instead perceived as a web in which it is difficult to achieve one’s usual orientation. Also in the way the panorama is based on strategies of dislocating the viewer who experiences the sensation of being in two places at the same time. Similar to Rogala’s intention to construct a space, a place, which enables the ability to be in both Chicago and Jamaica at the same time. This somewhat instability of perception as a new experimental narrative strategy which is often difficult to decode is mainly motivated by Dinkla through referring to James Joyce’s interest in generating reality, as opposed to representing reality, for example (Ulysses, novel, 1922) causing the fictional subject to change, depending on the perspective from which it is observed. The new dimensions of reality that emerge in this way are not fixed, they remain in motion and change their constellations. Which “Lovers Leap” verifies through the visitor’s interactivity of “leaping” in and out different constellations of two places.
For the group presentation I made an art-int-act-ion based on the working of both the aesthetics seen within “Lovers Leap” and “Impalpability”, as for the collapsing of an image into a sphere, enables a 360 view. I used an application on my iPhone called “THETA” in which you can capture and view spherical images. I loaded a picture of the Cloud Gate (Anish Kapoor) in Chicago as it relates on multiple levels with both projects (city of Chicago, perspective, surrealistic, shape). The application allowed me to “leap”/zoom in/out and tumble the ball which the picture was layered upon. I made some screenshots of the image, which I inserted again into the application. A somewhat meta-image occurred, the shape was not circular anymore but become spherical. But most fascinatingly it also allowed me to insert video. I made a screen capture of my interaction with the tumbling and spinning of the first image, which I inserted again in the application. As a result a hypnotizing stream of moving image content, each spin creating a new “unique” combination of perception through my physical movement as seen on the display as the reconfigured virtual image. The result could perhaps point toward similar contemporary media aesthetics, as seen in the work of Nam June Paik “TV Crown” (1965). His work is characterized by remix, glitch, and data-moshing, among a host of digital techniques, which furthermore forces us to rethink media’s meaning ever as the material investigations into the medium specificity of moving images. Paik’s notion of “humanizing technology” becomes another interesting component in engaging both interactive works from the artintact, as in human touch (“Impalpability” and perception (“Lovers Leap), ever as my very own artintact-ion in terms of provoking technology through human interaction of creating a feedback loop.
“Lovers Leap” (Miroslaw Rogala, 1995) part of Exhibition of (interactive) artwork, part of DEAF95 (Nov 21 – 26, 1995) at V2_Lab for the Unstable Media in Rotterdam the Netherlands. < https://v2.nl/archive/works/lovers-leap >
 Dinkla, Söke.”The Art of Narrative – Towards the Floating Work of Art” in New Screen Media: Cinema/Art/Narrative. 2001
 Zinman, Gregory. “Nam June Paik’s TV Crown and Interventionist, Participatory Media Art”