Baankluay Magazine


Interactive Art: The Touchable Creation  

Author: Nathumol Srianun, Chaiwitch SangSai 

Column: Imagination 

Humans have a relationship with Arts throughout the history, hence, The Arts have developed as we have and art now is very different from what it once was. Whether through the use of mixed media or the reforming of found objects, art is now more than just beauty, but the value of thoughts, concepts and curiosity. Not only are we able to enjoy art visually, we can interact and engage with it. 


Thanet Awsinsiri, a lecturer from the School of Fine and Applied Arts, Bangkok University, gives his view that “Interactive Art is a contemporary of thoughts. It’s not about the most futuristic way of thinking. Art should not be used for just its look but to activate questions. Creative products, including visual art, have been determined and unfolded in different perspectives now because we live in a world in which everything is linked to humans.” 


The first thing to consider in the emergence of  Interactive Art is the change in western philosophy. We are familiar with rise of “Postmodernism” in the art world. In the postmodern era, “freedom” and “identity” were the artists’ central concerns. Hence, the realisation of the work was heavily invested in such topics resulting in experimental works taking unprecedented forms. This new approach was  very different from the work that came before, which had been based on theories and reasons. Consequently, “Postmodernism” occurred as a resistance to Modernism. 


This protest against Modernism produced a more democratic perspective of art making, in which the creator has less control over things. “Interactive Art” is a further step along this road as it needs viewers to engage or participate with the piece for its completion. Many artists create projects in the form of performance, which urges people to participate as a group. This type of art form makes it easier for artists to ask for audience  participation with their works. In most cultural outputs such as literature or TV shows this interactivity would be more problematic , it is only in plays where the artist (performer) can design a dialog that audiences can interact with. 


The core idea of Interactive Art is not about art that you can touch or interact with physically or affect its form, but about what happens to the viewers and the piece during and after the participation. This is  the real work of Interactive Art.  


An example of how Interactive Art can influence our daily life is one of the works from Tuangkamol Thongborisute, a student from Silpakorn University.  In her installation, “In the White Room,” (variable installation, 2011) she created various glossy white forms from found objects and let people stick things together to create new forms and shapes. Her concept was an experiment into human beings’ sense of vision and perception of forms and symbols. Participants have an opportunity to use their experience and creativity to experiment and create their new unidentified forms from regular objects in daily life. The creations made by each participant cantell us a lot about how they visualize, perceive figure and symbolize objects.  


“In the White Room” has placed various forms, shapes and sizes of found objects allowing people to play with their limitless ideas. Everytime you enter the room, it will have changed so you will never see things in the same place.  


Interactive Art in Thailand is popular in Thailand with many artists claiming the term for their work to capitalise on this new trend. However, Thai artists and designers lag behind other developed countries as fast-growing technologies could not be taught and imported into our nation at the speed with which they were adopted in the West. Thus, modern art installations in Thailand often look old-fashion in comparison, with contemporary artists forced to use traditional methods and materials because new media is too costly. 


Globally, The Arts are branching out across diverse disciplines utilising multimedia resources. There is not an attachment to particular places or environments asin the past. Designers and Artists have the opportunity to develop their work and experiment. Digital technologies are great tools for creative professions to gather new information and garner skills from around the world. It is inarguable that we are post postmodernism already and have entered into the period of unlimited exploration of media and artistry.