Interactive Art: Beginnings

Interactive Art arose from many sources, including Kinetic art, Conceptual art, Op art, Video art, and Algorist art.

Also: Roots of Interactive Art: in Victorian Parlor Games


Roots of Interactive Art: in Kinetic Art

Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel (1913)
There’s a lot going on in this ‘revolutionary’ work from the birth of Modernism, including the use of non-fixed form, kinetics, interactivity, and above all, readymade fabrication. There was plenty of kinetic art which followed this, but much was autonomous; only a fraction of it invited human input or operation.
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Thomas Wilfred, Home Clavilux lumia performance instrument (1920s)
Wilfred was interested in “lumia”, or dynamic abstract light-art. He developed both stand-alone and human-driven machines for controlling abstract imagery over time.
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Yaacov Agam, Vibralite (1961)
Agam made “tactile paintings”: low-relief kinetic sculptures designed to function as dynamic pseudo-2D images. In this project, white cardboard circles are mounted on springs. Small air currents (or manipulations by guests) vary the image, within constraints determined by the artist.

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Agam (jump to 22’55”, then to 44’00”):

Servulo Esmeraldo (early 1960s)

Edward Ihnatowicz, SAM and The Senster (1968)


Roots of Interactive Art: in Op (Optical) Art

Bridget Riley, S Current (1964)
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The Responsive Eye exhibition, MoMA (1965)

Yaacov Agam, Double Metamorphose (polymorphic picture, early 1970s)
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Roots of Interactive Art: in Electronic Video and Sound

Nam June Paik, Random Access (1963)

Nam June Paik, TV Magnet (1965)

Steina & Woody Vasulka, various video experiments (1960s-1970s)