Saturday 14 April, 11.00 - 18.00
Location: NAi
Admission: 50,-/35 Student reduction

View the Symposium (archived RealVideo stream)

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The theme of the symposium and the accompanying publication is the ways organization and structure come about, and become effective, through interaction within networks. The speakers in the symposium consider this question from artistic, architectonic, social, political, biological and cognitive perspectives.




Interaction is a characteristic of every living thing. Bodies and objects lay connections, form networks, and then, through interaction, achieve organization, structure and memory. Interaction is often seen as a process of action and reaction between already existing bodies and objects, but this is too limited a view. Interaction causes bodies and objects to change and variation to arise. Interaction is not a deformation of existing forms, but rather an addition of information, an informing, a formation of forms.

Interaction does not come into being on the basis of rigid blueprints or detailed plans with clear-cut goals; it proceeds messily, in an exploratory, flexible way. The results of interaction possess this same sloppiness, instability and tentativeness - but precisely for this reason, they can last a surprisingly long time, as they are always able to reorganize and adapt. Thus, blood vessels in an embryo grow in all directions, but the only branches that survive are those that interact with the organs they connect to; the rest disappear. The only selection criterion for interaction is whether it works, that is, whether it is operational. Interactivity is, on the one hand, a method of bringing something into being - whether a form, a structure, an organization, a body, an institute, or a work of art - and, on the other, a way of dealing with it.

Interactive Art

In viewers looking at non-interactive works of art, we also see exploratory and tentative behavior. Every perception is already an action, so in fact in this sense there is no art that is non-interactive. But only art that presents itself as interactive tries to absorb this activity of the viewer's and make itself open so that it, too, can change. An interactive artwork does not so much respond to the viewer as form a double system with him or her in which both the work and the viewer can change (unlike non-interactive art, in regard to which it is thought only the viewer can change). This double system, in turn, forms a third system with the viewers around it, in which these "outsiders" can look at and through the interaction taking place and the forms that arise through it.

Interactive art is, in short, an open kind of art, one that permits multiple perceptions, though not every perception. In interactive art, perception becomes action, and the action of perceiving adds something to the work. The act of perceiving thereby becomes the act of making the work.

Moderator: Andreas Broeckmann.


11:00 - 12:00

Detlef Mertins is Professor of Architecture and Chair of of the Department of Architecture at Penn University of Pennsylvania. Amongst his numerous publications are The Presence of Mies, and Metropolitan Mutations: The Architecture of Emerging Public Spaces. His research focuses on the history and theory of modernism in architecture, art, philosophy, and urbanism.

12:00 - 13:00

Lars Spuybroek is Professor and Chair at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and the principal of NOX, an art & architecture studio in Rotterdam. Since the early 1990s he has been researching the relationship between art, architecture and computing, not only by building but also by writing, speaking and teaching. In 2004 Thames & Hudson published his 400-page monograph, NOX: Machining Architecture.




14:00 - 15:00

Howard Caygill is Professor of Cultural History at Goldsmiths College in London. His research interests are in the fields of the history of philosophy, aesthetics and cultural history. Currently he is completing a book on the philosophical and medical aspects of the body. He is the author of several books, amongst which Walter Benjamin: The Colour of Experience (1998) and Levinas and the Political (2002).

15:00 - 16:00

Noortje Marres works as a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Sociology Department, Goldsmiths College in London. Her current research focuses on climate change and the role of non-human entities as mediators of civic involvement in this issue. She draws on actor-network theory and American pragmatism to develop an object-oriented perspective on public involvement in politics. Her recent work has been published in Making Things Public (MIT Press, 2005), Reformatting Politics (Routledge, 2006) and Nongovernmental Politics (Zone Books, forthcoming). She is an editor of two Dutch journals, Krisis and De Gids.

16:00 - 17:00

Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist without a studio, who organizes, facilitates, and creates conditions for visual art to come to fruition and engage people. She is one of the leading names in socially oriented art, where her role fluctuates from organizer, host, policy maker, editor to producer or researcher.

17:00 - 18:00

Informal talks and drinks


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Entree: € 50.00 / 35.00

Programma informatie

Locatie: NAi

Tijden: Sat14 Apr12:00–19:00

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