Paul Majkut: Aesthetic and Ethical Questions Concerning Cyberspace
Interactivity and Intersubjectivity
Thu, May 13, 2004 6.30 pm CEST, Opening
Despite extravagant claims by software and hardware manufacturers, certain aesthetic and ethical questions of value concerning the relationship of viewer and viewed remain unanswered except by metaphors that draw on analogies from media that existed before the cyber ”space” of hypertext and virtual reality came into being (»window«, »page«, »scroll«, »information superhighway«, etc.). These metaphorical understandings, as necessary as they may be at the moment to understand the new medium, are unfortunately misleading and, in the end, add to the problem of understanding. Most importantly, the casual conflation of interactivity and intersubjectivity is seen as an undermining of the empathy necessary for an intersubjective relationship. A number of specific topics are considered: spontaneity, switching, lineal / non-lineal / multi-lineal, standardization, perfect imperfection, etc.

Paul Majkut is currently Associate Professor for Writing and Communications at the National University in La Jolla, California.
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