FLASH™ ART - Critical Interactive Multimedia

3 URLs & Analysis of Interactivity as an Aesthetic Element

Mike B.

this site, though not specifically Flash based, is a good model I think for
Interactivity on the Web. It is set up so that anyone can post images
movies text or whatever else on its many pages. The result is not as
"lowest common denominator" as you might think.


http://www.toxi.co.uk/ and http://www.toxi.co.uk/p5/index.htm
The Toxi site is from a 3d lingo and flash programmer and is mostly open source. I like the examples on the p5 (processing) sub-page, they provide interacivity on a very base level.
The Xonko page is 1 interactive shockwave demo that I found visually very interesting. A wide range of settings.
And the Kanduvisla page is more of the same, but a bit easier to understand, programming wise. The author has very good tutorials and offers most of their code online.
All of these examples use math to create their complex behaviors. They seem much more interactive to me than a choose-your-own-adventure style rundown.




Fresh-mix and Aesthetics in Interactivity

From onlymaureen.com, Fresh-mix is an interactive Flash program that imitates juice blending with a wide array of nutritional databases of fruit and the combinations of fruit. In terms of Wilsonís essay- the program follows the fixed-single path interactive pattern. In the nature of interactivity, this page is very straight-forward, simple instructions that require no more than clicking and dragging.

This page leads users in the fixed-single path. After one step is completed ñchoosing the mix of fruit for the drink, the user is led to a page reviewing the choice of fruit and nutritional values. If desired, the user may go back and de-select fruit or add more fruit. Though the path does not branch, the user is always offered the choice to return to the previous event.

The end result is a finished, decorated drink (the garnishes and style of glass is chosen by the user) with the nutritional value displayed next to the glass. This program relies highly on the userís interaction as he/she decides on the combination of fruits. It requires presence: someone ñmust- choose the fruit, glass, and garnishes. Simple choice of options: the user can select categories of fruit- melons, stone fruit, berries, exotic, citrus, etc. It is contributory as the end results depend on the userís choice of fruit, glass, and garnishes.

Though the end result depends on the user, the options of interactivity are limited- rigid and sequential structure. The fruit that is available to the users is limited to those included in the program, as well as the style of glass and choice in garnishes.



I chose this website because the whole site uses Flash. However, it is not just for entertainment purposes but more for information about the group. I thought this website was engaging. The background did not interfere with any of the interactive settings. The colors are bright enough so the user knows where to got to explore. This website was pretty self-explanatory that it gave the user options to delve deeper within the website or go back to the main menu.

The website, being informative gives a very good biography about the group. The user knows their music or not, there's a sense of what kind of music it is because music is playing throughout the website. This connects the user and media with music being the common thread.



The egomedia.com site is very appealing to me because it has nice design element that make the site feel like a global environment. Using the analogy of the desktop work well and is not too common as an alternative for the usual 5 button interface. The transitions for the different parts are super cool, but not too eye candy like so that I didn’t feel that it was gratuitous. I could really appreciate how well this site was produce and the artistic thoughts that went in to it.







Mark Fiore's flash web sight www.markfiore.com, illustrates a branching interactive menu of choices for the user. The user is able to navigate through defined and clear choices such as: home, forum, animation gallery, refer a friend, letter, links, bio, and e-mail. Mark Fiore's interactive art becomes an aesthetic device as it springs from a cultural critique and political commentary. Based in San Francisco, Mark Fiore's satirical cartoons raise the viewers political (slightly liberal) consciousness with commentary on San Francisco's Matt and Gavin via fashion show, Gay Marriage (a narration) and A welcome to San Francisco's race card game.

The navigation on his web sight incorporates sounds and animation that allows the user to define which areas are to be further explored or not. The navigation follows canonized design patterns that provide the user with an array of choices with excellent animations. Mark Fiore's site is goal specific in an effort to raise critical consciousness, yet he does so without being 'preachy' using instead humorous appeal.




Aesthetics of Interactivity
Taking into consideration the relationship of interactivity in relation of Associationism as discussed by Vannemar Bush in the article an article called "As We May Think", interactivity is a progression of discovering and interpretation information. Information and interactivity of information is a relationship that exists in a realm that is handled in a way that when presented to a active audience fuses the obtaining of information and the free form of decision making collaborate together

On Camper shoes web site, the subject matter of shoe culture presented in a form that relates to the pedestrian lifestyle. In this format of interactivity, the information about Camper shoes is displayed in a way that is comparable to the lifestyle of travelers in search of experiences instead of the overall destination. In a certain section of the site there are visual settings that coincides to images and situations that would be found when traveling and living a nomadic lifestyle. Here the interactivity is apparent but is subtle to the subject. Here interactivity is being an artificial substitute of real travel. The site follows characteristics of branching paths for the user to use and discover what this site is about. The interactivity that controls the flow amount of information is at a set rate that doesn't overload or leave a feeling of anticipation for the information provided.

The flow of information is also a factor to take into consideration when discussing interactivity. The rate at which information is in a sense released to the audience in the Camper site is regulated to the flow and pacing of the pedestrian/ traveling lifestyle. So within this site, it manages by the interactivity to cross the culture of travel and a specific lifestyle by providing information on a product that is simply a shoe. But here Camper has secured an identity for their product by crossing over and merging varying types of subcultures together through interactivity.


Interactivity as an Aesthetic Element in ilove2design.com

The designer maciek czmude works with multiple programs in multiple disciplines. For his portfolio site ilove2design, he has chosen the unusual metaphor of a refridgerator to form the aesthetic and functional backbone for the interactivity on his site.

The focus of ilove2design is the fridge, to which several post-it style notes and clippings are attached. Each of these notes serves either a functional or decorative purpose. Some notes provide news and updates, while others provide navigable triggers for other content. In the case of ilove2design, i feel that referring to most of the triggers as "links" doesnt truly represent the nature of their behavior. To link something implies that you leave one place, and move to another. In the case of ilove2design, clicking on a post-it note link doesnt really take you anywhere, but in fact effectively brings new content to where you are, by adding new post-it notes, clippings, scribbled notes, and other content in that mode to the front of the fridge. You can clear out new content by using a small, slightly incogrous "close" button.

Additionally, a second level can be accessed, by attempting to "open" the fridge by clicking on its handle, at which time the fridge will open up, displaying its contents, which in turn also lead to the creation/addiition of new content elements on the section of fridge still on display.

At first i chose this site because it seemed that it fell outside the models steve had specified as "common" patterns in his essay, because it did not seem like this was a collection of inter-linked static states, but rather a more fluid construct, where the boundaries between one "section" and another were not defined, and couldnt be definitively mapped with arrows and icons.

However, when i actually began to pay attention to the mechanics of the site, i realized this was not the case at all. Because of the fact that when you choose a new element of the site to see, the recently-added element dissapears in favor of the newly chosen element. To fit the model i had described previously, the content elements would need to be persistent, despite the fact other elements had been accessed. By "putting away" elements as he does, this site falls into a more traditional, point-to-point model, with a clearly defined set of states that fall into what steve described in his diagram as the "hypermedia" model, where all navigation choices are available from all elements, but only one set of content can be accessed at any given time.

As i discussed before, while following a relatively standard navigation model, the method with which he has done this is remarkably refreshing, and non-obvious. In many cases with the hypermedia model, page jumps with a persistent navigation are blatantly obvious, which in most cases is the intended goal. This site breaks out of the traditional model's tendency to be interpreteted and rendered as a series of "places" - destinations one goes to. This site's lack of "destinations" takes the user out of the usual metaphor of path following, and into a realm more akin to object manipulation. The choices are still there, but less explicit, less leading. You have nowhere to "go", because youre already "there", and there are things to do in that place. The only time one feels like one is leaving one place for another is when an external link is clicked, though to a lesser degree, the opening of the fridge has a certain amount of place-shifting implication.


also, just for fun, i thought id send along this flash anim (linear) that
everyone i know has been passing around. Its kinda silly, and not very "cia",
but its a really cool use of layering to add depth of motion.


Future Farmers' "Anti-War" game uses interactivity as a pseudo-game element to give the audience a chance to control larger social constructions that we would never have the chance to participate in, such as being the preswident of the United States. Through the process of allocating money to the national budeget you as the president effect public opinion as well as the opinion of private corporations. Throught the process of allocating the national budget you learn that your decisions are more controlled by private interest rather than the intewrest of the people. Which I suppose is a 'no brainer'. That is how it has always been. Anyway, the pacing of the game works at a snails pace. The interactivity is effected by the pacing. Your decsiohns as a participant, are like watching molassses drip out of a bottle. The pacing and interactivity has a very interesting and somehow fresh effect on the viewer/player. As an aesthetic element the interactivity functions as a storyteller. Theough making decsions about the national budget we learn the rules and reality of the game, and therefore insight to the real world (maybe).



The After Life, by Jonathan Clark

First of all, this is an excellent example of a creative, and an interactive site. I visited the site about four hours ago and I still remember the scenes, the music, the statues, the blue sky, and the green grass.

The use of flash files absolutely enhances the interactivity through involving the user. Almost all flash scenes have images that change by a move or a click of a mouse.

Also, the use of the music is so appealing and provokes the user's feeling into the scene.

Overall, this site is a demonstration of fabulous interactivity depicted in the music, the scenes, and the effects.

In addition to this, the use of the transparent drop down screen is a very nice looking and it doesn't intervene with the flash movie (scene) behind it. The user can fill in the form, while listening to the music and enjoying the scene.

As for the other two sites, theremediproject site is not as interactive. Music is not used like it is in the After Life site.