Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Dynamic Systems Aesthetics of Interactive Media in David Rokeby’s The Giver of Names
Tabitha Minns
2nd Author
3rd Author
Master of Arts
Number of Pages
York University, Toronto, Ontario
Thesis Supervisor
Dr. Jennifer Fisher
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Dr. Sarah Parsons
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Art History
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
David Rokeby; dynamic systems; aesthetics; artificial intelligence; cognition; perception; mind; interactive art
Abstract: 200-500 words
David Rokeby is a Canadian new media artist whose artificial perception systems question the possibility of computer cognition and serve as, in his words, “public research laboratories” where assumptions about the human mind can be tested or affirmed. While intelligence has been central to the definition of mind or consciousness for researchers in artificial intelligence and computational cognitivism, Rokeby’s philosophy and art works are in tune with more recent holistic theories of mind based in complex systems theory, which insist that it is the whole person in relation with their environment that constitutes the mind. Therefore, I argue that David Rokeby’s most explicit artificial perception system, The Giver of Names, refutes computational cognitivism, which states that human intelligence or experience – “mind” – can be translated into the material substrate of the computer. The Giver of Names reveals that the mind must be embodied in a human subject dynamically co-emerging with the environment. The mind conceptualized as a complex, dynamic system has important implications for understanding interactive art, which will lead to my ultimate claim at the end of the paper: the type of interactivity taking place in new media works such as The Giver of Names is best described as an aesthetics of dynamic co-emergence, what I call dynamic systems aesthetics.