reactive art (sf)


*A SMAC exhibition at SFMOMA , featuring work by Jim Campbell, Scott
Snibbe, and Crevice.
* A conversation with the artists and IDEO designer Bill Moggridge

What – The San Francisco Media Arts Council (SMAC) will host an
exclusive exhibition of reactive artworks and a discussion exploring
Reactive Art in the context of our current cultural climate and the
field of interaction design.

Issue #4 of the SMAC! zine will also be available at the exhibition
and panel. Each coveted issue is produced in a limited, paper-only
edition, guest-conceptualized by a local designer (in this case, Amy
Franceschini), and features essays, commentary, and paper-based art
installations by prominent writers, theorists, and artists (look to
#4 for work by Scott Snibbe, Crevice's David Warne & Marlene Moser,
Margaret Tedesco, and Marisa S. Olson).

When –Thursday, January 23, 2003, Exhibit opening and reception: 6 - 8:30 =
Friday, January 24, 2003, Exhibit open to the public, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday, January 25, 2003, Exhibit open to the public, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Conversation with the artists, 3-5 pm

Admission: $10. Reserve your tickets at


Where – The Schwab Room at SFMOMA, 151 Third Street, San Francisco


Description "Interactive computing" once referred to the
paraphernalia and procedures which enabled reciprocal data entry and
output between a machine and its human operator. As the relationship
evolved, cognition made its way into our definitions of "human
computer interaction," with a shift of emphasis from the mechanics of
the process to its conceptual accessibility. Today interactive
technologies have evolved into a medium through which we interact not
so much with our computers as with other people and with our
environment. The computer itself has become an interface to culture.
As wireless networks, body-sensing apparatus, and smart appliances
proliferate, the old challenge of exchanging messages with a machine
has given way to a scenario in which the machines are capable of
tracking our every move.

Some artists wholeheartedly embraced the interactivity proposition.
If viewers as co-creators could shape the flow of events, then–it
was assumed–their engagement with the work would be enhanced.
Other, more circumspect artists noted that the act of choosing does
not necessarily yield an aesthetic experience, or add meaning to the
observer's process of apprehension.

Media artist Jim Campbell, for one, has dispensed with the premise of
user control in favor of systems that measure and respond to changes
in their surroundings. Campbell points out that the "choice and
command" interface suitable for word processing, data management or
playing games usually fails as a metaphor for dialogue or for
adaptive unfolding. "Attempting to create systems that respond and
progress in recognizably non-random, but at the same time
unpredictable ways, I have tried to create works that have destinies
of their own."

Rather than requiring viewers to choose from a predetermined set of
prerecorded outputs, the "reactive artwork" poses a system in which
viewers' actions constitute an integral yet extemporaneous component,
and it displays an immediate reflection of a state in perpetual
change. Through mimicking and engaging our cognitive faculties, such
work prompts us to examine our habitual ways of perceiving, while it
invites improvisation, resulting in potentially lyrical,
multi-sensory meditations on the nature of reality.

These concepts, as well as themes of perception, memory, control, and
everyday space, are common to the sensor-laden media artworks of
Campbell, Scott Snibbe, and Crevice, a Toronto-based art collective.
Campbell's clockworks manipulate our sense of time, compelling us to
recalibrate the way we experience it. Snibbe and Crevice's
installations experiment with the spatial properties of camera and
projection frames, and invite viewers to act on the screen Such
works, says Snibbe, "increase their compositional complexity,
salience, and meaning, as more and more viewers take part in them."

Who – This event is organized by SMAC Event Co-Chairs Neil Kaye,
Rachel Strickland, and Alissa Bushnell, with SFMOMA Media Arts
Curator Benjamin Weil, Stephanie Knecht and Nathalie Dubuc. SMAC's
program director and zine editor is Marisa S. Olson. She and her
co-founder, Grace Hawthorne, have been hard at work to bring you a
Issue #4 of the SMAC! zine.

SMAC is a group of new media experts and enthusiasts who produce
events, publications and activities to enhance the experience and
understanding of new media in the arts. SMAC's goal is to cultivate
the incredible wealth of art and technological resources in the San
Francisco Bay Area, fostering a closer relationship among technology
and art communities.

Admission – Space is limited. Advance reservations are required for
Thursday evening reception by e-mailing [email protected]. And
Saturday afternoon panel discussion admission is $10. Reserve your
tickets at®ion=xxx&category=misc&=

Marisa S. Olson
Associate Director
SF Camerawork
415. 863. 1001