A Study on “System” in New Media Art
This study suggests interactivity in New Media Art as a communication between the different systems, based on the notion of system in relation to System Theory. Digital interactive system is not only a closed system, that is, autopoiesis, according to the principal of digital organization, and but an open system according to the process of function such as the interaction and connection among the various systems including both artwork and perceiver. In this respect, Niklas Luhmann’s notion of system is very efficient to clarify such a duality of system. Luhmann’s System Theory expanded and subdivided the notion of system, limited to the biological level based on General System Theory, into the four levels, for example, organic systems, nonorganic systems, social systems and psychological systems. Social systems are autopoietic systems reproducing communications constantly, and psychological systems stimulate and promote the communications in the environments of social systems. The psychological systems and social systems are not only coupled structurally, but divided as the autopoietic, closed systems.
In this respect, these notions seem to be far more valid to understand interactivity in Digital Interactive Art. Digital interactive artwork as an autopoietic system generates interactions through the structural coupling between the different autopoietic systems,that is, an artwork and a perceiver. Furthermore, systems, communicating with the different autopoietic systems, organize and maintain themselves by producing differences between systems and their own environments. Therefore, systems are sure to use their own boundaries to control the differences, which has analogy to interface as a surface forming a common boundary between the virtual and the real world in New Media Art. As a result, a perceiver, especially with a bio-feedback apparatus, comes to be a complex cross-systems, that is, Apparat-Operator Komplex, and ultimately the artwork and the perceiver are combined into Responsive Systems-cum-Environmentscum-Artworks. This study seems to be significant in that it suggests a new viewpoint of understanding and regarding interactivity in New Media Art as a construction of communications between the different complex systems.