Weibel, P. (2007). It Is Forbidden Not to Touch: Some Remarks on the (Forgotten Parts of the) History of Interactivity and Virtuality. In _Media Art Histories_, O. Grau, ed. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press.

Peter Weibel has been the Chairman and CEO of the ZKM/Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe since 1999. Prior to that he was curator at the Neue Galerie Graz, as well as artistic consultant and artistic director of the Ars Electronica in Linz. In addition, he has been Professor for Visual Media Art at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, Associate Professor for Video and Digital Arts and Center for Media State at SUNY Buffalo.

In this piece, Weibel argues kinetic and op art are being rediscovered, only with new applications, and that it’s in art, specifically kinetic and op art (not computers) that we find the richest interactive and virtual art interfaces. In op and kinetic art, the viewer is now essential for the work. The illusion is not the device but the object, and in some cases viewers experience the kinetic/spatial “stereokinetic effect” (30).

Kinetic and op art are: contemporaneous with the emergence of computer arts and graphics, dependent on interactivity and virtuality, and bear “the rudiments of rule-based algorithmic art” (21). Algorithms are decision procedures; they have a set number of rules and instructions that lead one to a determined end. They are present in digital and electronic tolls, art and non-art, and rely on two forms of interactivity: manual/mechanical (e.g. op art) and digital/electronic (e.g. new media art).  There are two uses for algorithms in modern art: “intuitive application” (e.g. Fluxus) and “exact application (e.g. computer art). “The future of digital art can be found in approaches explored by kinetic practitioners” (38).

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Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Media Arts, Minor Field, Research Fields

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