What is interactive art?

by Priveekollektie / Geen categorie / 25 March 2020

By Annemarijn-Ingelaat

What is interactive art?

Since the development and integration of computers and technology into daily life, artists have experimented with various media in artworks. Interactive art uses technology to communicated in a direct way to let their audience participate. Creation is no longer solely understood as an expression of the artist’s inner creativity, but also as a result of the collaboration between artist and observer. The way people interact with an interactive artwork can be really ranging: starting a three-dimensional or digital system, participate on internet, making a sound or a movement. As a result the artwork responds to the observer. Thereby the artwork only receives form and meaning by the participation of the observer. This is how interactive art breaks the boundaries between life and art.

Interactive art did not develop in an art historical vacuum and incorporates many influences from previous art movements and experiments with art and technology. In the 70s artist searched for new methods to communicate with their audience. In these years Fluxus developed performances that combine art and music. Their goal was to bring art closer to daily life. It did not take long before others artist like John Cage and Nam June Paik experimented with so called happenings. Also groups of artist like the Dadaists where intrigued by this form of art because they did not only reached the audience but also demanded active participation. The role of the observer changed from passive to active. At a certain point in the 70s performance artist had to deal with the practical facts that their artworks where gone when they finished. For this matter they started capturing there work on video. Video art, first used for documentation, quickly developed as an in depended art form. Around the same time experiments with computers took place. Interactive art can be seen as a result of the traditions mentioned above because of the dominant role of technology, the active contribution of the observers and the desire to break the boundaries between life and art.

Babyflutter by Dominic Harris

Dominic Harris (born 1976) is an interactive artist from London whose chosen palette of materials is lighting, interaction design and electronics. Dominic’s artworks exhibit a continued fascination between inventive adaptations of cutting-edge technologies and playful interactions within natural and digitized environments. His training as an architect explains the obsessive attention to detailing and fabrication of his works.
Baby Flutter is a new edition of artworks that continues Dominic’s fascination with butterflies and their beautiful forms. Butterflies represent different emotions and meanings in different cultures and are frequently used in both visual and literary arts. While traveling Dominic selected his ten favorite butterflies as subjects for each of the edition. Some of these are native to specific regions he has travelled to, whilst others are more commonly found across the globe.

As counterpart of pinned butterflies in cabinets from collectors, the butterflies in Babyflutter are digital re-interpreted to create a living portrait of the specimens. Each selected butterfly is individually exhibit with its own unique mannerisms and attributes. Through the innovative technologies Dominic used, the viewer is able to interactively engage with the butterfly. When the viewer approaches the artwork, the butterfly changes from a resting pose to a flight mode. By tracking the movements of the viewer, the butterfly will display its beautiful wings in a slow motion flight.

Curious? Take a look at the movie of Babyflutter at or come by the stand of Priveekollektie no. 42 at PAN.

About Babyflutters

LCD screen, thermopile, custom electronics and software, anodised aluminium 275 x 225 x 62 mm
10 butterfly species, each in an edition of 8 + 2 Artist Proof + 2 Prototypes Produced by Cinimod Studio

Available through Priveekollektie Contemporary Art | Design