An Interesting Form of Freedom

An Interesting Form of Freedom is a phrase that points to a criterion for good interactive or participatory works.
It is another conceptual frame that is practically relevant specifically in the context of participatory, interactive and or relational work. But again, it is also a way to look at quality in other artistic practice.

- The freedom here is the participants’ freedom, that can be made interesting by acquiring a certain form that is outlined by the maker (the ‘initiating author’) of the work. It can be a freedom to read a work in various ways, a freedom to act, to destroy, to add, to alter, to talk, to listen, to resonate, to criticize, etcetera. Important is the quality of the freedom (its form) not its degree!
A very limited form of freedom can still be very interesting (examples below). And very large degrees of freedom are not necessarily meaningful or interesting at all. The quality criterion here is the quality of the friction between the agency of the audience and the limits and affordances of the form of the work.
- The form here is that of the process of engagement of the participant with the elements of the work, consisting of contact points, contextual elements, objects and props, all placed in a time frame and structured by implicit and explicit rules. The participants freedom exists inside these rules and in relation to content, context and contact.
- There is no definition of interesting. It is an experiential quality. The work is good is when it’s interesting, when it stimulates by limitation.

- Dogma 95 Vow of Chastisy
Also check: Lars von Trier The Boss of it All‘s camera work.
- Conditional Design
- Conversation pieces (I’ll explain in class)
- Generative art, algorithmical art: Telco Systems Driessen & Verstappen
- Wafaa Bilal A moral take on An Interesting Form of Freedom.
- Oorbeek – Oordeel.
- Korsakow System – a free online software for rule bases interactive film.

The way I’d like to first develop sensibility for ‘interesting forms of freedom’ is through exploration of the application of rules.

The 1st assignment is to do a Rule-Based Intervention. That is to say:
- you choose a situation, medium, event or process that interests you more than just superficially/
- you try to understand this situation, medium, event or process as a rule-based process. These rules may explicit, in the form or known regulations, game- rules or codes of conduct. They may also be existent in the form of implicit assumptions about the appropriate time, location, space, duration, rhythm of the chosen situation, medium, event or process. They could even be present in the form of physical objects or characteristics. For example: if there were places on earth with less gravity, the rules of nearly all sports would need additions for them to work. Indeed, this is one stimulating design dimension to take into account when designing sports that take place in virtual spaces.
- you articulate these rules. Here is a lot of room for alternative relational constructions. What relation between what elements constitutes the rule ? Are rules attached to separate agents in your item of research ? Are rules attached to the system as a whole ?
- you intervene in the situation, medium, event, or process by altering one or more of these rules, or by adding new ones to it, or by taking away rules.
As a general conceptual direction for you intervention, I suggest that your intervention reveals in one way or another what you find interesting about the situation, medium, event or process.

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