I will start this reflexion narrating two “eureka” moments of my life. The first one was when I first realized that I loved literature. I was about 16 years old and I was reading “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” of Milan Kundera. I remember the feeling of connection that I felt with the writer and his thoughts, it was a very intense and deep feeling. I felt as I was inside his mind, sharing his process of thinking and creation in a very intimate way. Since then I have being always very grateful for the invention of the writing and the printing, two admirable technological achievements of humanity. Literature provides the amazing possibility to pass over space and time, connecting ideas and people from different places and periods of time; and allows the storage of the knowledge.
The other “eureka” moment that I want to tell is when I realized the potencial of the internet and the levels of interactivity it allows. I don’t remember this as a precise moment, it has been a process that started in the nineties, when the internet was just starting to spread. I was so surprised of it´s capabilities to connect people and knowledge in an instant, suspending the barrier of the space. Then, around 2007, when Facebook started to be popular (in Chile at least), I was very impress by the question “What are you thinking?” that Facebook has in the top of the page. It seemed to me both intimidating and amazing. The possibility to share the ephemeral daily thoughts public and instantly with a community seemed to me so revolutionary.
Since then I have being wondering about the potentials of the interactive technologies in a very subtle way, almost unconsciously. My decision to study at ITP was also very intuitive. When I hear and read about the program I felt capture by it´s content. “This is what I want to study”, I thought. But to be honest I have never think consciously about what Interactivity is.
When I received that question last Tuesday I felt so challenged and I have read and think about it since then. The question brings into huge questions, one over the other. For example, the statement about books that Crawford arise in his book “The Art of Interactive Design” is provocative and takes me to the questions of what should I think about my experience of reading Kundera? Are books interactive? Is the experience of reading interactive?.
In my opinion, through the action of reading (a good book) many movements are generated in the mind. Some ideas, images or questions written on it can create new connections in a whole system, and makes an “input” of new ideas on it. Until that point Crawford agree. He sustain that books are not interactive because they create reactions in the reader, but the readers can not generate reactions in the books. Is that true? Or does the reaction of the readers or the audience modifies the book it self?. I think it does. Many readers that are touch by a book changes the book it self. Maybe not even one written word of the book, but the meaning of it for
a community or a person. The ideas that stays in a book are in some way alive and the content of the book interacts. There is a process of dialogue between it and a community. This process, certainly depends on the readers and their approach to the book. Some books don´t interact at all and some others are more mysterious: one book can be totally unknown for years (and live with no interactions) and suddenly can be discover by someone bringing a new input to that person or to a community. Isn´t that new status of the book an input to the book itself?. Since that moment the book is another book. A known book, and maybe an editorial will decide to translate it. So the book will be written in other language, will catch new readers and so on.
Crawford´s book, for example, was completely unknown for me until now and I don´t know if it is translated yet. The reading of it has helped me to reach new questions. What stayed in my mind after reading Crawford´s book is that there are many different levels and qualities of interaction, many rhythms and each interaction can have a different meaning for each of the inter-actors. Some interactions can be very few but very significant, some others can be less meaningful, but maybe provide a great help. This is something that I would like to explore during this years at ITP, the reflexion around the qualities, rhythms and levels of interaction.