Lev Manovich - Super good theory of interaction
Section from "The Language of New Media" discussing interactivity:
The Myth of Interactivity
"....Used in relation to computer-based media, the concept of interactivity is a tautology. Modern human-computer interface (HCI) is by its very definition interactive....When we use the concept of “interactive media” exclusively in relation to computer-based media, there is danger that we interpret "interaction" literally, equating it with physical interaction between a user and a media object (pressing a
button, choosing a link, moving the body), at the sake of psychological interaction. The psychological processes of filling-in, hypothesis forming, recalland identification, which are required for us to comprehend any text or image at all, are mistakenly identified with an objectively existing structure of interactive links..."
Manovich goes on to explain that the concept of interaction goes back through the ages and encompasses Classical and Modern art, painting, sculpture, theater etc. He includes these examples by defining interaction as any process that provokes the human mind to use the imagination as a companion to what the eyes see.
I really like this - it is making me think about what "interaction" is and why it is played with by artists and ad agencies alike.