In Response to “Happenings” in the New York Scene, Allan Kaprow, 1961 and Responsive Environments, Myron W. Krueger, 1977

In: English and Literature

Submitted By iwantbrad
Words 569
Pages 3
Art is a product of its times. This idea was strongly reinforced during the reading of the two essays. While the time between Kaprow’s “happenings” and Krueger’s responsive environments is relatively little the histories and motivations of each movement or art form are very different. The different histories of the works also influenced their goals and methods of interactivity.
The interactive new media works that we encounter in today’s galleries have a much stronger resemblance and more in common with Krueger’s environments than the “happenings” of the 1960s. Today’s interactive art works are technology driven systems which can sense the world around them and can respond to it. While this bidirectional interaction is more similar to “happenings” where all participants can interact with one another and the “creators” of the event, there is a lack of interaction with technology. This technological element is at the root of both Krueger’s environments and modern interactive pieces. In this respect, both have closer ties to the interaction found in photography and film between the photographer/camera and the subject. This method of interaction is unidirectional but the interaction with the technology is key.
Happenings came about in the 1960s while the art world was still in its post-war modernist period. The happenings followed in the footsteps of or in concert with “action” painting, the Fluxus and Dada movements, and the beatnik and hippie cultural movements. This anti-materialism, communal, rebellious attitude infused the happenings with a social commentary and an active investigation into the boundaries of Art. While the same could be said of some contemporary new media works, happenings are
(technologically) unmediated and therefore, I believe, are closer in relation to previous art movements than modern technology-based works which emerged in the early…...

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