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Interactivity

THEORISTS
Lev Manovich who offers a complex typology of interactivity based on a theory of the remediation or historical entwining of different media technologies (87).
According to Stephen Graham, Interactive media frees us from the limits of geographical and bodily spaces. Graham calls this the "dream of transcendence". (87).
Nigel Thrift says, "The business sector where capitalist organizations attempt to theorize their own products" (87).
Marshall McLuhan "basic position is that traditional media such as books and films are interactive insofar as they demand the reader or viewer to create some kind of mental accompaniment to their content" (89).

DEFINITIONS
Anything-anywhere-anytime dream: Grahams idea that with the emergence of mobile devices it frees us from the physical constraints of communication. "The promise of interactivity is that it will deliver smooth and unlimited interaction between users and machines in practically any setting" (88).
Closed interactivity: This includes branching tree interactivity. "Choices tend to be made by users from a set of predetermined options" (92).
Open Interactivity: "Responsive, complex and flexible systems provide users with a broad range of open possibilities that themselves might be open to definition" (93).
Active Citizenship: "The individual citizen is increasingly expected, and increasingly expects, to make his or her own judgements about scientific and technological matters" (94).

EXAMPLES
Theorists such as Barry "view museums as interactive environments that might be used to raise deeper questions about the political dynamics of the new media age" (95).



Holocaust museum

CANONICAL TEXTS: First Person (eds. Wardrup Fruin and Harrigan)

Eric Zimmerman, whose essay “Narrative, Interactivity, Play, and Games” is anthologized in First Person, writes that interactivity is “one of those words which can mean everything and nothing at once” because of its scope. His response is to try and subdivide interactivity into components that work alongside narrative to define and distinguish games and stories.

 

He identifies the following modes of interactivity within game and story narratives:

  • Cognitive Interactivity: Interpreting a text. For example, reading Lord of the Flies in Junior High versus reading it after being stranded on a deserted island.
  • Functional Interactivity: Material apparatus/effects of the text. For example, the experience of reading on the Kindle is different than reading a traditional book.
  • Explicit Interactivity: Traditional notion of interaction. For example, making choices in D&D, or clicking links on a website.
  • Meta-Interactivity: Cultural participation with the text. For example, experiencing one narrative across many media, or reading fan-fiction about a favorite super-hero.

Canonical Texts: Remediation by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin:

Bolter and Grusin’s work Remediation deals with multiple key concepts such as Interface and Interactivity. However, because the term Remediation as Bolter and Grusin mean it includes a dual-logic of being mindful of and forgetting that media are between the viewer and the viewed, it is completely logical to consider their ideas under the banner of Interactivity. New media attempts a dual role simultaneously: “Our culture wants both to multiply its media and to erase its media in the very act of multiplying them” (5). “The logic of immediacy dictates that the medium itself should disappear and leave us in the presence of the thing represented” (6). Hypermediacy draws attention to the fact that heterogeneous media are inbetween us and the thing represented (34). So based on how transparent the interface is, how comfortable the user is with the interface is, interactivity between the user and the viewed can be considered more successful or not.



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