This paper is aimed at analyzing interactive installation created by Adobe Corporation (2007). In particular, it is necessary to discuss the poetics of this piece and the principles which govern this artwork. Secondly, this essay will explain the embodiment of affordances in this interactive design. Finally, one has to describe the effects produced by these artistic elements and especially the experiences that they create for the user.
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Overall, contemporary media has such distinctive features as dynamism, interactivity, and, variance (Manovich 2002). To some extent, each of them is present in the artwork that is going to be analyzed. On the whole, the interactive installation presented by Adobe is a dynamic work of art. It is a form of painting or animation that changes in response to the person’s movements.
Those people, who come in front of the screen, can see the images which emerge provided that the user moves in any direction. At first, we need to examine the poetics of this media piece. In this case, the term poetics refers to the principles on which this interactive installation relies. First of all, one can speak about the principles identified by Lev Manovich, namely variability or dynamism and automation (Manovich 2002, p. 36).
The main peculiarity of this artwork is that it is dynamic rather than static. The images which appear on the screen are the direct result of the users’ action. This is one of the things which make this installation attractive to the users. The second important principle is automation. Various images presented in this media piece can be created and modified automatically.
The high degree of automation means that the user does not have to put much effort to create these artistic images. Such a form of media is supposed to make a person’s experiences more enjoyable. It is also important for us to speak about the structure of this media piece. One can identify such elements 1) the environment in which it is located, 2) interactive interface and 3) the user.
Such a structure creates unique experiences for the person. He/she feels involved in the creation of art. Those people, who come near the screen, act as though they were artists, who paint beautiful pictures. Secondly, the location is also of great importance to this media piece. It is located right in the street, and every passer-by can take part in this installation.
Such accessibility is another peculiarity of this media piece, and it certainly makes it more appealing to the audience. This installation is aimed at convincing the users that practically everyone has some artistic gifts. One can argue that such form of design partly originates from the ideas of Lev Manovich and David Saltz who believe that contemporary media can allow users to become a part of the creative process (Manovich 2002, p. 179; Saltz 1997, p. 117).
While analyzing an interactive installation, one should also speak about the embodiment of affordances. In this context, the term affordance refers to those qualities of a certain object which enable the person to perform some action. As a rule, the designers of interactive interfaces show how individuals can use their applications.
For example, the attention of the viewer is usually attracted to various toolbars or menus that help to run programs. This installation differs dramatically from traditional forms of traditional design. This media piece provides practically no clues as to how this system can be manipulated. Only when a person comes closer to this installation, he/she understands that the images are created in response to the movement.
Overall, this absence of affordances is closely tied to the poetics of this installation. This emphasis on interactive design can erase the borders between the artist and the performer. Besides, this installation shows that the new media can obey even the slightest movements of people who will be able to use this application with more comfort.
To a large extent, this approach is based on the ideas of David Saltz who argues that new media do not use fixed images; more likely, they rely on immaterial objects which can be easily transformed in response to the user’s action (Saltz 2010, p 118). This new trend can surely be observed in the interactive installation.
Judging from my personal experiences, I can also tell that at first, the users of this interactive system cannot understand how and why images can change. One can argue that the user’s experience consists of mixed feelings of surprised and fascination especially when he/she approaches this installation for the first time.
Thirdly, it is necessary for us to show the interplay between media and interaction. This artistic installation can be regarded as a form of animation and video. The main advantage of this media is that the user can immediately see the changes or the results produced by his/her actions. The person feels as if he/she were an artist standing in front of an easel and creating a painting.
The designers were able to achieve this effect by placing the images against the white background. Another important thing is that this media piece can appeal to people representing various age groups. It offers practically everyone a chance to become a painter, and this is very appealing. Thus, the interaction and the media enhance the users’ experiences.
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At this point, one should also speak about the poetics of interaction. Conventional art is supposed to affect the behavior of the person. In contrast, this installation enables the user to change the artwork. However, at the same time, users get absorbed into the screen after realizing that their actions initiate the creation of images, and they become interested in the possibilities that the application offers.
One should not forget that this installation serves some commercial purposes. It is aimed at increasing the customers’ awareness of Adobe Corporation and its products. Such experiences can enhance people’s favorable attitudes toward this organization. Thus, this media peace serves two functions. It has to demonstrate the artistic capabilities of interactive and promote the brand of Adobe.
Overall, this installation shows that new media will encourage people to take a more active part in the creative process. As it has been pointed out by Saltz (1997) or Manovich (2002), the art based on interaction will enable the user to act like an artist or a composer.
This is the main appeal of the new media. The interactive installation discussed in this paper is a good example of such media. The main distinction of interactive media is that they enable users to become active participants in the creative process. This is their major strength.
Adobe Corporation (2007). Adobe Interactive Installation. Web.
Manovich, L. (2002). The language of new media. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Saltz, D. Z. (1997). The art of interaction: Interactivity, performativity, and computers. Journal Of Aesthetics & Art Criticism, 55(2), 117-128.