UTS
Engage 2006
26th - 28th November 2006, University of Technology, Sydney

The experience of the audience is at the heart of interaction and, in particular, interactive art. Computer-based interactive artworks come into being and exist in their full form when they are used. They cannot be understood only as objects, but must be thought of as time-based experiences, or periods of engagement. There is an increasing interest from practitioners and researchers in the field of interactive art in learning more about audience experience from theoretical, empirical and applied perspectives. This symposium will review the latest work in this area and future directions for the field, drawing together different disciplinary approaches and perspectives including artist led research, curatorial and museological approaches, theoretical and art-historical research, human-centred design perspectives.

Engage is the 4th annual symposium organised by the Creativity and Cognition Studios at the University of Technology, Sydney. Previous symposia include Interaction: Systems, Practice, Theory, 2004 and Generative Arts Practice, 2005. The topics covered in Engage have arisen in large part from Beta_space, CCS's exhibition and audience research initiative in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum and supported by ACID. Beta_space is an experimental display area for interactive art at the Powerhouse. It extends CCS's practice based research in art and technology into a public context.

THEMES

1. Artist led and practice based research

This topic includes artists' reflections on;

- the role of audiences in their artwork,
- the way their artworks engage audiences,
- the relationship between creative process and audience engagement,
- how they conceive of and work with audiences in their practice,
- how artists' self evaluation is informed by audience experience.
2. Curatorial and museological approaches

This topic includes;

- curatorial approaches to audience experience
- studies of audiences in gallery and museum contexts,
- evaluation methods and techniques developed by cultural institutions,
- the role of cultural institutions in furthering this area of research,
- the role of formative evaluation in curation and exhibition design,
- the place of audience experience in collection and preservation policy

3. Art historical and theoretical approaches

This topic includes;

- the conceptual underpinnings for understanding audience experience,
- key theories and philosophies of experience,
- lessons from other art-forms,
- the emergence and development of interaction as a medium,
- historical studies and reviews that inform the debate.

4. The intersection of HCI and interactive art

This topic includes the growing body of research that draws together these two complimentary fields, including;

- evaluation methodologies
- methods, tools and strategies from user-centred design
- lessons from and developments in interaction design
- ethnographic and anthropological studies