Abstract- Lowbrow, high art: Why Big Fine Art doesn't understand interactivity.
Interactivity and playfulness are rarely exalted in the conservative institutions, or Big Fine Art, either because it they signify a lack of serious comment or because these approaches are populist, which Big Fine Art labels lowbrow. Yet these 'lowbrow' works for the man and woman in the street appear in window displays and public installations, on the Internet and mobile phones, outside of the hallowed halls of the traditional art world. They become popular because they are simply engaging and engender powerful cultural forces laden with intricate meaning and comment, just not that of a single auteur. In contrast, the contemporary new media art world has frequently produced works whose meaning and usage is opaque and deliberately confusing or simply ill conceived. These works often appear to not only be elitist, but also tedious and dull. Playful interactions tend to be more successful in terms of interactive engagement. They are extremely simple in their conception and are help us to understand interactivity. When combined with social and network technologies the artist becomes a facilitator of an experience, the "work" is an experience created and shared by many. This paper examines the problematic relationship between these simple interactives and the conventional gallery environment. It also argues that same conservative art institutions that dismiss interactivity as turning the gallery into a playground misunderstand its nature by failing to see that creating what they consider lowbrow works is actually a high art.