Adopting Traditional Concepts of Beauty with the Digital

Investigating Interactive Beauty – a research-art project by Falk Heinrich/ DEEP/PLACE: site-based immersive history by Andrea Wollensak, Ozgur Izmirli, and Bridget Baird/ Embedded Sound: A Project on Turkish Traditional Calligraphy and Its Multi-Touch Transformation by Adviye Ayça Ünlüer, Oğuzhan Özcan, and Hüseyin Kuşcu
Wednesday, 21 September, 2011 - 17:00 - 18:00
Chair Person: 
İz Öztat
Falk Heinrich
Andrea Wollensak
Özgür Izmirli
Bridget Baird
Adviye Ayça Ünlüer
Oguzhan Ozcan
Hüseyin Kuşçu

Investigating Interactive Beauty – a research-art project

by Falk Heinrich

My paper is a presentation and discussion of my academic-artistic installation Investigating Interactive Beauty (IIB). This installation forms the empiric part of a larger academic investigation of the notion of beauty in interactive art. IIB is an art installation and an empirical experiment that allows for data collection.  The research-art installation IIB thus encompasses an aesthetic experience and engages the participant in reflections on the nature of beauty in interactive art.

The basic idea of IIB is the contradictory notions of contemplative and performative beauty, represented on the one hand by the static representational genre of the art of still life paintings, and on the other hand the very artistic act of creating and composing still life set-ups (based on the hypothesis, that interactive artefacts offer and modulate the participants’ creative (poietic) impetus. The installation gives the participant the opportunity to compose the physical model of a still life by selecting and arranging typical still life objects (vases, flowers, food, dead animals, etc.) on a table.

The participant can at the same time see the photographic result of her arrangement real time as a projection, showing the video picture of the arranged still life. But the picture is a digitally manipulated picture. The degree and kind of modification depends on the amount and kind of the participant’s physical actions in space. The modification modalities are inspired by exponents of art history’s development from representational art to various kinds of pictorial motion abstractions (Balla, Boccioni, Duchamps, Muybrigde).

Questionnaires, one before and one after the engagement with the interactive artefact, frame the research-art installation. The ‘pre-interaction’ questionnaire seeks to get information about the participants’ general notion of artistic beauty. The post-interaction part is an open-ended questionnaire followed by a brief personal interview on interactive beauty, as a reflection on the participants’ experience with the installation.

The experiment has at the time of the abstract submission not been completed. The academic results of the experiment will be presented at the symposium. 

DEEP/PLACE: site-based immersive history

by Andrea Wollensak, Ozgur Izmirli, and Bridget Baird

DEEP/PLACE is a site-based installation that features an expanded interactive audiovisual space consisting of diverse media elements. This multidisciplinary collaborative artwork merges materials from discrete domains—such as architecture, cultural geography and geology—in an immersive site-specific experience. Participants explore the multifaceted information by navigating a rich media landscape through intuitive gestures. The media landscape is represented by a system of interconnected nodes of site-based information that include spatial and geological information, archival blueprints and images, 3D models, and audio material. The system uses a gestural interface that allows a user to move between and within nodes, exploring the media landscape.

The gestural interface connects the graph of nodes both chronologically and thematically. Color threads dynamically guide the user between nodes, creating adaptive and dynamic place-based narratives. Using a wireless glove that senses flexing and position tracking, a gestural vocabulary creates a kinetic interaction, encouraging discovery and re-contextualization. In addition to an exploration of the virtual environment, the system allows the user to connect expressive gestures to an artistically generative component of the system, helping form a bridge between the virtual and the physical, between perception and action.

The specially designed technological infrastructure enables node interconnectivity to define possible narrative paths through the media landscape. These paths can be followed deep within the spatial context (including into geological foundations) and also the chronological one (through architecture and history). It is based on a 3D virtual environment into which the informational elements are interwoven. This collaborative project involves three core faculty (in Studio Art and Computer Science) as well as students within the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology. Additional expertise in site-specific history, architecture, geology and geographical information systems was provided by affiliated faculty.

Our first realization of DEEP/PLACE features a chapel that was designed as a reflective gathering place for community building, with a rich history of performances and recordings. This installation presents its past in an interactive and deep experience encompassing culture and architecture. DEEP/PLACE is a flexible site-based installation that can be re-purposed for other historically rich sites, using relevant media and research inputs to the system.

Embedded Sound: A Project on Turkish Traditional Calligraphy and Its Multi-Touch Transformation

by Ayça Adviye Ünlüer, Oğuzhan Özcan, and Hüseyin Kuşçu

As digital technologies evolve, new forms of art are discovered by designers and artists. Yet throughout this fast evolution it is hard to say these art forms develop a solid background. It’s a credible idea to achieve a well established approach by experimentally adapting art forms from past cultures to new digital media. One of the subjects of inspiration can be Turkish Traditional Calligraphy named as ‘Khatt’. 

‘Khatt’ (pronounced as ‘hut’) is the art of aesthetic and measured lettering. Hat which gets its origins from the philosophy of Sufism/Tasawwuf, can be properly applied only after a long and difficult training. Master artists develop a visual composition by blending a given text in to a metaphorical form. A work of Khatt not only presents a group of words that make up a composition with a symbol that stands out; but also involves a dynamism formed by the emotional expression of the drawing technique. This paper is about the idea of composing contemporary interactive screen designs using multi-touch technology in union with the dynamism and spirit lying beneath the art of Khatt.  

In these sorts of experimental designs, it is aimed for the user to catch the right rhythm and exhalation, then imitate the ‘Khattat’s (the Khatt artist) flow of movements with the help of certain clues with high predictability, and finally recreate a composition. For the auditory orientation, the sound of a wind instrument called ‘ney’ has been chosen. Demonstrating the same space of time and variability with the exhalation, ney is an instrument originating from the philosophy of Tasawwuf as a visual concept as well as a musical one.  

In the application process of such project, sound and image take part in the orientation simultaneously. Consequently the result revealed after experimental studies can be defined as ‘a contemporary auditory output of a visual composition in Khatt’ or in another point of view ‘a new interpretation to the visual notation of music’