The Art of Interactive Media

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In this new, digital era we find ourselves amused by flashing lights installations, computer game graphics and interactive interfaces. It is a new, and somewhat scary, frontier that fully embraces the point where art meets technology. Many modern artists shy away from this highly interactive and intimidating medium. However, Swiss artist Marc Lee has spotted an opportunity for creativity with information and communication technologies and uses it to his advantage.

Art has had a long history of developing alongside the materials and technology available. From the first moments of painting the horses at the Lascaux Caves in France to the crafted sculptures in Ancient Greece to the Mona Lisa, artistry has always had a strong relationship to the materials available. In this digital era, we find ourselves gawking at a new art form that relies on modern technology and the internet.

Interactive Art in the Digital Era

Interactive art is the new kid on the block. It is an art form that involves the spectator in a way that allows the art to achieve its purpose. Some interactive art installations achieve this by letting the observer or visitor “walk” in, on, and around them; some others ask the artist or the spectators to become part of the artwork.

Interactive art describes art that relies on the participation of a spectator. Credit: Parabuzen.

Interactive art describes art that relies on the participation of a spectator. Credit: Parabuzen.

Although this style of art is blooming in the 21st Century, it was first seen in late 1950’s. It accompanied the artists’ desires to find less alienating and exclusive environments in which to show art. The art also became more participatory and inclusive. Artists designed sculptures that could be touched and played with.

Interacting with artist Marc Lee

This Swiss-born artist is one of the pioneers of the interactive art industry. Marc Lee has been creating network-oriented interactive art projects, interactive installations, media art, internet art, performance art and video art since 1999. His artworks have made it into the great hallways of many exhibitions around the world, including ZKM Karlsruhe, New Museum New York, Transmediale Berlin, Ars Electronica Linz, HMKV Dortmund, to name a few.

"10 000 Moving Cities - Same but Different" by Swiss artist Marc Lee.

“10 000 Moving Cities – Same but Different” by Swiss artist Marc Lee.

Some of his famous artworks include “Pic-me-fly” (2014), which invited users to fly to locations selected on Instagram, which virtually transports the viewer to that location using comments, tags and geolocalization. Another famous installation is “10 000 Moving Cities – Same but Different“. It confronted viewers with the information overload experienced in the digital from user-generated content and news about places, cultures, people and movements.