reactive art @ sfmoma--reminder

a reminder…..


Works by Jim Campbell, Scott Snibbe, and Crevice

Conversation with the Artists and 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.

Thursday, January 23, 2003
Exhibit opening and reception: 6 - 8:30 p.m.

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 - 5p.m.

Admission $10 reserve your tickets at


The Schwab Room at SFMOMA
151 Third Street, San Francisco


"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."

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 emailing
<mailto:[email protected]>[email protected]. And Saturday
afternoon panel discussion admission is $10. Reserve your tickets at

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