Hist 696: Manovich

Oh, for one more week with this text. Well, if I’m dreaming, a month with just this text would be better :-)

I really enjoyed this text. I have run out of time to write a well-reasoned post, so I will write more after class.

However, one point that Manovich makes repeatedly in the text that I found particularly helpful for our work is the question of interactivity and the question of freedom. Manovich notes, very helpfully, that all cultural products are interactive and that we must remember psychological interactivity as a way that we interact with cultural products. One of the key aspects of engaging with art or cultural products is the associations we draw. I also really appreciated his distinction between open and closed interactivity. Where art allows us to draw whatever associations we may draw (open), there is a real danger in digital work to confuse closed interactivity with open. Merely allowing the user to choose between a number of predetermined options (closed) is not the same as open interactivity. Instead, there is an imposition here of the mind of the creator on the user. The same exists when using the OS or using software to create a 3D object – while the user is free to choose between options, those options are preexisting and imposed. It is important to realize this and to realize that engaging with such objects does limit the ways we can view the world and the things we can create.

[Update] The promised “more” after class is just not going to happen. Sadness.