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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathAesthetics/Communication
Cartesianisches Chaos (Weibel, Peter), 1992

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over which the receiver can also act as transmitter. Since the user can influence the procedure and appearance of the work, or even add new information in the case of more complex systems, it is a matter of content-related interactivity. Temporal, spatial, or content-based relations are established between interactor and work.

Heinz von Foerster makes a distinction between trivial and non-trivial machines in regard to technical specificity. Trivial machines are causally describable and predictable, and conceivable only in non-physical areas such as mathematics. Machines in physical space are always non-trivial, since this space is subject to entropic processes. Two types of non-trivial machines can be distinguished: those which attempt to adjust their behavior to the trivial machines, and those which behave non-trivially. The former are purposeoriented machines, the latter are ones which are potentially suitable for interactivity. [21]

According to Peter Weibel three different models of interactivity can be drawn up from the viewpoints of behavior and consciousness: synaesthetic interactivity, which consists of interactivity between various


materials and elements, such as image and sound, color and music; synergetic interactivity, which takes place between states of energy, as in works that react to changes in their environment; and communicative or kinetic interactivity between different people and between persons and objects.

In all cases, environment or context are of crucial importance to the human-machine performance. As stated already, the integration of context into the interactivity process means acknowledging it as a conditioning factor in the communication process. Peter Weibel reflects upon the relationship of dependence between observer and context in his interactive installation «Cartesian Chaos» of 1992.


Interactivity in art is therefore composed, as Peter Weibel proposes, of three digital characteristics: virtuality, variability, and viability. [22] On the other hand, the human-machine interface attests to the transformation of a culture based on narratively logocentric and sequential structures into a ‹digital culture› that is visual, sensory, retroactive and

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