This short essay discusses two interactive artworks by 1) comparing and contrastinghow their narrative is experienced through interactivity, 2) examining their relevanceto culture and the use of space, and 3) surmising the effectiveness or limitations of theworks in communicating the artist’s intentions. This essay argues that both worksinvolve socio-cultural communication, with one being more engaging than the other.
Selected artworks:-1. Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, “I Want You To Want Me” (IWYTWM), screeninstallation, MoMA New York, 14 Feb 2008, as part of the “Design and ElasticMind” show, website: http://iwantyoutowantme.org/The following extract is taken from the statement in the abovementioned website:-
I Want You To Want Me explores the search for love and self in the world of onlinedating. Over the past several years, online dating has entered the mainstream,drawing over 50 million visitors per month. En masse, people have condensed their identities into page or paragraph-long descriptions, sometimes complemented by ahandful of photographs or peppered with responses to canned questions. These personal profiles are modern messages in a bottle, short statements of self, telling not only who people are, but also what people want. In these advertisements for newhuman relationships, people package and present their most loveable qualities tohelp complete their quest to be loved. I Want You To Want Me chronicles the world’s long-term relationship with romance,across all ages, genders, and sexualities, gathering new data from a variety of onlinedating sites every few hours. The system searches these sites for certain phrases,which it then collects and stores in a database. These phrases, taken out of context, provide partial glimpses into people’s private lives. Simultaneously, the system formsan evolving zeitgeist of dating, tracking the most popular first dates, turn-ons,desires, self-descriptions and interests.The data is presented as an interactive installation, displayed on a 56” high-resolution touch screen, hung vertically on a wall in a dark room. On screen is aninteractive sky, whose weather (sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy, etc.) can be controlled by the viewer. Through the sky float hundreds of blue (male) and pink (female)balloons, each representing a single dating profile. The brighter balloons are