A study of audience relationships with interactive computer-based visual artworks in gallery settings, through observation, art practice, and curation.
Contemporary interactive computer-based artworks are examined, with particular reference to the problems and opportunities presented by their relationship to their audience in conventional gallery settings. From an anecdotal starting point, the research uses a series of observational case studies of exhibited works, the production of an interactive artwork, and the curation of an exhibition of interactive artworks, to explore pragmatic questions of the artwork/audience relationship in real-world situations. A range of existing taxonomies for kinds and levels of interactivity within art 'are
examined, and a `common-language' taxonomy based on the metaphor of `conversation' is developed and applied. -The case studies reveal patterns of use of interactive artworks including the relation of use-time to gender, aspects of
intimidation, and social interaction. In particular, a high frequency of collective use of artworks, even when the artworks are designed to be used by one person, is discovered. This aspect of collective versus individual use, and interaction between audience members is further explored by several strands of research: The development of an interactive artwork specifically intended to be enhanced by collective usage and
interaction between users; the application of a metaphor of 'conversation/host' to the making of the artwork; further, more specific, case studies of such artworks; and the further development of the taxonomy into a graphic form to illustrate
differences in artwork-audience, and audience-audience relationships. The strands of research work together to uncover data which would be of use to artists and curators working with computer-basedin teractive artworks, and explores and develops tools which may be useful for the analysis of a wide range of artworks and art production