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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathEndo-Aesthetics

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The above examples vividly point to the conceptual transformations resulting from the artistic deployment of interactive systems like those of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, or artificial life, that is to say: technologies enabling the creation of virtual realities or environments that the interactor can experience from within, or mechanisms producing parallel ‹histories› or exo-realities. These developments were accompanied by the emergence of various methods of analyzing interactive works. One tendency is directed primarily at the structural mechanism, with less attention being paid to the context and the interactors. The object of investigation is the manner in which interactivity arises between the user and image, along with the functions exercised by the interface, and how works are generated and controlled, as well as the way in which they direct the user to act. These are aspects connected with structural design, and accordingly this line of argumentation concedes far more weight to the question of ‹how,› i.e. the technological design, than to the question of ‹what.› For the purposes of


aesthetic reflection in the area of interactive art/systems, however, interest would have to center on the question of which types of information, communication, contents and aesthetics are created. In the case of virtual-reality systems, for instance, not only the technological development or the spectacular forms reproducing slices of reality are a matter of interest. The actual purpose of applying these technologies—that of evoking the aesthetics of simulation—results from their potential ability to create qualitatively complex environments conveying plurisensorially experiencable contents.

In an interactive environment in which the observer is a transmitter who can interfere, who can manipulate the available audiovisual information or generate new information, the work’s meaning and effectiveness are linked both to the interaction experience of the audience and to the corresponding reaction (performance) of the system. In order that circular communication—and be it fictive—can arise between the interactor and system, the latter must simulate the ability to ‹take in› the visitor’s instructions. This would allow an interactor to assume that he was controlling

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