Awarded Best Paper at the 19th Meeting of Cybernetics & Systems Research, Graz, Austria 2008
Designers do not require the use of the most advanced electrical, mechanical & computational engineering to build highly sophisticated interactive devices, art & architecture. Instead what is crucial is that the conceptual framework within which they are conceived has a thorough understanding of interaction.
A common current misconception fostered by so called ‘human computer interaction’ design is that by giving functional devices, or aesthetic works of art & architecture, the ability to ‘React’ in some way to the stimuli of a ‘User’, qualifies this artefact as ‘Interactive’. Such an over simplification trivialises the powerful & productive quality of interaction.
This paper insists on Interactivity as a more productive & advanced form of Reactivity, & explains the process of interaction as a conversational activity between participants. The conversational model is examined through this authors recent art installation & reflects on the powerful precedent Gordon Pask provides for understanding interaction through the experimental machines
that he built to embody his Conversation Theories.