Motion Perception: Interactive Video and Spatial Awareness (2011)

Nell Breyer

About this exposition

Interactive video art is increasingly woven into urban public places around the world. A dominant argument about this growing form of public art is that it offers potential for new social, political and physical engagement with public space. However, there is little consensus or even analysis of just how such engagement is taking place. The exposition is an attempt to specify what drives the ‘physical engagement’ in this genre of work. It develops the argument that movement-centric and body-centric visualizations provide multi-modal movement representations, and that these can direct spatial attention through immersive and particularized experience. With reference to examples, the exposition concludes that interactive video art can offer a chronotopic experience in which space is understood through the time it takes to move the body.
typeresearch exposition
published inJournal for Artistic Research

comments: 2 (last entry by Sabine Gebhardt - 21/11/2011 at 22:50)
anonymous 21/11/2011 at 17:02

In general, I consider the topic of the submission as interesting. However, I wish the artist’s actual practice and research questions would connect to the given theoretical framework more convincingly.


The structure of the paper and the English used are very good, most of the times a pleasure to read. Furthermore the submission’s references are well chosen - it would have been nice to see a few of my interactive video favourites added (Toshio Iwai, Scott Snibbe, and David Rokeby), but of course the list of examples never can be complete.


I believe that quite often the facts (e.g. under the section ‘Theoretical Framework’) don’t connect well with the author’s conclusions and assumptions. For this reason I suggest reformulating suggestions made by the artist (making usage of the word ‘may’) as questions.


The intended research also could have more impact on the execution of the final piece — I have seen frame difference visualisations in a lot of different pieces, with a lot of different explanations for them, so I would like to see something new and more to the point.

Sabine Gebhardt 21/11/2011 at 22:50

The project intends to provide one methodological approach, which helps articulate how computation, video, projection, and interaction can direct and more fully explain our physical experience and comprehension of contemporary public spaces. This is a very interesting goal of crucial impact on research and artistic practice today. The project tries to combine a theoretical research goal with an artistic output. To use video as an instrument of aesthetical research is convincing, too. But the outcomes of the project can only be regarded as ‘first results’. The main cause of the ‘weak’ aesthetical form of the project seems to be rooted—first in the simple concept of bodies—not taking into account the discourses marked by eminent authors like Judith Butler and Amelia Jones. The reflection of contemporary critical media theory in relation to video art is too selective. References to important works such as Sigrid Adorf’s Operation Video (Bielefeld, Transcript 2008) or Georg Christoph Tholen’s Die Zäsur der Medien (Frankfurt 2002) are lacking.


The project should receive further funding and proceed in collaborations with international video-artists to sharpen the theories reflected upon and to improve the outcomes!


The impact on the project is possible in the fields of media-theory, philosophy (especially in the field of so called ‘New Phenomenology’), media enhanced performance art, technological devices to track movements and performance studies.


The submission contains a clear description of the research questions, which it wants to address. The author knows the state of the art in research on public spheres and concerning the tracking of movement in time and space. The submitted project enables a lot of new thoughts, either on the technical level of tracking and morphing or on the concept of bodily movements. Hélàs; the form or the aesthetical output is on a starting level or beginners state and should be developed further. Furthermore the debate on bodily styles, performative space and new media theories in Video art should influence the description-texts of the project, too. The submission provides—from my point of view—new tools for tracking bodily movements over time. This can lead to new insights if the critical reflection and the video-documents are reworked. The research process is consequent, and the methods in use are adequate and correct, but they should be clarified and strengthened.


The design and navigation support of the exposition are good. It is correct and feasible according to referencing. The readability of the submission is perfect.


The submission is worth to be published after a slight rework. The strengths of the project are: the contemporanity of the topic, the state of the art in research topics in art in public spheres and the interdisciplinary working concept of the project between artistic production and reflection. The author should rework before publishing their theory on bodily styles, media theory of the genre video art and the philosophy of time; he should seek also new collaborations with artists using camera-tracking such as Zilla Leutenegger or Douglas Gordon.

Comments are only available for registered users.

i have forgotten my password
join the research catalogue
Portals The research catalogue serves:
Journal for Artistic Research
a peer-reviewed international journal for all art disciplines
KC Research Portal
Research Portal of the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague
Norwegian Artistic Research Programme
The portal of the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme
Taiteellisen tutkimuksen kausijulkaisu / Studies in Artistic Research
University of Applied Arts Vienna
RC portal of the University of Applied Arts Vienna
Journal of Sonic Studies
A peer-reviewed, international journal on sound studies and auditory culture
Academy of Creative and Performing Arts
Portal of the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University
SHAPE - Artistic Research and Institutional Impact
SHAPE aims to describe the impact of artistic research within specific frameworks.
Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen
Portal of Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design
Portal of Codarts, University of the Arts, Rotterdam
Stockholm University of the Arts
Stockholm University of the Arts (Uniarts) provides education and conducts research in the fields of choreography, film & media, opera and performing arts.
University of the Arts Helsinki
University of the Arts Helsinki was launched in 2013 upon the merging of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy, and Theatre Academy Helsinki.
The Norwegian Film School
The Norwegian Film School
Norwegian Academy of Music
A leading artistic and academic university college with over 600 students. Located in Oslo, Norway.