Interactive Contemporary Art: Participation in Practice, (ed.) Kathryn Brown (I.B. Tauris, 2014; paperback 2016) ISBN 13-978-1780765518

Audience participation has polarized the critical debate surrounding contemporary art’s social, moral and aesthetic potential. This incisive collection of essays sheds new light on the political, ethical and artistic capacity of participatory works and tests the most recent theoretical approaches to the subject. Internationally renowned art historians, curators and artists analyze the impact of collaborative aesthetics on personal and social identity, concepts of the artist, the ontology of art and the role of museums in contemporary society. Essays tease apart notions of ‘interactivity’, ‘collaboration’, ‘performance’, ‘relational aesthetics’ and ‘social art’ for the purpose of clarifying a range of conflicting approaches to the making and reception of art and promoting a dialogue between art historians, curators, and artists. They ask: what are the ways in which audiences experience contemporary art? Do participatory art forms generate a new type of aesthetic education that is capable of shaping social and political behaviour? What degree of co-operation is required for such artworks to be successful? What approaches do curators take to such works when organizing exhibitions?

Interactive Art cover

Through close analysis of interactive artworks in a range of media, Interactive Contemporary Art examines current critical debates in this field and proposes new ways of conceptualizing participatory practices. You can read an excerpt here.

My own contribution to the book is a chapter about some large-scale public installations by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. You can read a copy of the chapter here.