Independent Observations on Interactivity

From a message with the subject heading "Good Stimulating Questions" sent to Ger Zielinski after a presentation to his class at Ryerson in March 1999.

In recapping the enter-hold-exit example I suggested that it is modelled on a narrative and that narratives have middle, beginnings, and ends that can be shifted in the telling and presenting. I also suggested that the on/off yes/no decision process is not centred in the middle but distributed throughout. [...]
Any decision point depends not only upon the history of previous decisions at that point but also the activity of other decision points. This is a rather abstract way of expressing a network model for hum eating, savouring and digestion. Of course this is just to say that microhabits come to form larger cultural patterns.
Then many years later I came across a quotation in Lori Emerson Reading Writing Interfaces: from the digital to the bookbound (2014) which quotes a 2005 interview with Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries about their piece Traveling to Utopia: With a Brief History of the Technology.
The spectator is far from powerless. She is still the one who decides whether or not she will watch the piece, or having clicked on it, whether she'll click away from it. That's the same power that she has when she considers any other art and literature. Clicking away is one of the essences of the Internet. It's no different from deleting. It's rejection, it's saying "no." That's ultimate power.
A few pages later Emerson remarks "The reader/viewer cannot fast-forward or rewind; they can only click away from the piece and end the experience altogether." There exists screen recording software that would make a re-reading or reviewing of the work controllable for fast-forward or rewind or pause. In a sense Emerson overlooks using software to reproduce a copy of the piece and then assert control over flow because she buys into a restrictive view of interactivity — interactivity is pushed to a consumer (instead of applied by a user).
[...] YHCHI's dislike of interactivity is partly derived from the emptiness of interactive features in most pieces, which may be touted as offering the reader a liberatory freedom but that in fact simply allow the reader to choose between several predetermined directions. Rather than foster the illusion that their work is an exemplar of democratic literature, they choose to accentuate the absence of freedom in their work.
A wider view of interactivity that equates it with hacking would circumvent this view of limited possibilities. Mash-ups anyone? One of my favourites was posted in 2009 and features excerpts from lectures and presentations given at UC Berkeley and includes among others the poet Robin Blaser. The poster provides a transcript (very handy for search engines)
* Advancing Integrative Psychological Research on Adaptive and Healthy Aging - Session 3: Decision Making in Aging - May 21, 2009
* David Lynch: Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain - November 6, 2005
* Memristor and Memristive Systems Symposium - November 21, 2008
* 2009 Frickey Symposium - Plendary Session 1 - April 24, 2009
* The Dawn of Creation: The First Two Billion Years - Steven Beckwith - April 23, 2008
* Lunch Poems - Robin Blaser
* Conversations with History - The rise of asia and the decline of the west - Kishore Mahbubani


good morning
good evening
i'd like to welcome all of you here today

allright, so the beginning of all this was 1997
the early universe was almost all hydrogen and helium
in this roaring extend feathered wing to feathered wing
the universe is beginning to clump up and build galaxies from scratch
like an ocean of solutions, you dive in there, and these solutions come
this was the period in which you assembled the mass into galaxies
streets, subways, window, ledges
in fact the stars only account for 1/2 a percent

gods and stars and stars or totems are not game animals
incidentally i've kind of switched on you

we don't know when it hits us, but we become seekers, we start asking questions, we start getting curious
what next, you know
you can choose where to work, you can choose to buy television sets, you can choose to travel

this all turns out to be wrong
it's very very unusual to want it if you don't like it

so you see the galaxy in the center there, that doesn't look like a spiral or an elliptical, it's kind of chaotic
what you're seeing is two phases of forms of social integration
finally you see constitutional law evolving in response to political, social, and constitutional pressure
the same people who had been unproductive you know, for 100 years plus, suddenly became very productive and very dynamic
ahh, the people, the people, merely they are flesh of my flesh

but I think it's a question with more than one context

what would you do if all the lovers of your years passed by at midnight, dressed in the flesh that they wore when you last loved them
you'd be able to see the charactaristic size of these waves in an otherwise chaotic ocean
that's, that's actually kind of profound
And all that set to music: Grace by Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma.

And so for day 1293