The Medium of Interactive Art in Public Service Advertisements from the Perspective of Postmodernist Discourse

Document Type : Original Article


Ph.D. in Research of Art. Amin Higher Education Institution Fouladshahr, Iran


Introduction and Statement of the Problem: Postmodernism introduced the discourse of art into the public life of society. Along with the involvement of rapidly evolving technology in this discourse, this has created a more active image of art in the society. As a matter of fact, the age of electronic communication has seen a fundamental transformation in discourse relations which also affects artistic acts. One way in which these artistic acts have changed is the reproduction of art in form of advertisements in public spaces which is referred to as public art. Art, which was once an artist-centered act based on visual communication, has adopted a public approach with the help of technology. In addition to providing the opportunity for the manifestation of imaginative ideas, this will change the social function of art. Therefore, the digital world is turning into a reality in which the bilateral communication made possible between artist and audience will allow for interaction in the realm of public art. With the assumption that the postmodernist discourse of art is realized in the interactive art of public service advertisement to create bilateral artistic interaction, in what follows we shall analyze the contemporary discourse of art in the field of public service advertisement.
Theoretical Background
The discourse of art in the postmodern age adopts a biased approach to public art, not least its components of polyphony and publicization. The indicators of interactive art which provide audience's participation in technological processes are widely manifested in public interactive advertisements. In fact, contemporary art is the art of communication and public presentation which exploits new media and technologies. A case in point is interactive posters which make use of features such as the public aspect of art, interaction, and audience's participation so that the audience is no longer a passive observer but a co-author of the work of art. Interactive posters can be regarded as perfect examples of public advertisement representative of the postmodernist discourse because they possess the public aspect which is of great social and political significance in the postmodern age.
By adopting a descriptive approach, the present study seeks to analyze the notions of 'art performance' and 'audience interaction' in the field of public service advertisement. These notions are taken from a postmodernist approach to the completion of a work of art. For this analysis, two instances of public service advertisement, i.e. the Social Swipe and an interactive billboard for elimination of domestic violence against women, were selected by purposive sampling on the basis of their components of art publicization as well as their use of technology to provide audience interaction in creating the work of art.
Results and Discussion
In the examples of interactive posters, the artists follow their communicative purposes in the framework of identity-based and charity institutions to engage people in the civil activities of the society. On this basis, economic dominance which is the subject of advertising, along with the digital technology, allows for various types of perceptual and active interaction on the part of audience. This trend in the individual perception of the members of the society results from a highly creative interaction between human minds and international communications or cybernetics. Lack of decorative functions, focus on social issues, and use of the presence and identity of the audience are prioritized in this type of communication. The main mission of interactive public art is to continue discourse and dialog and provide participation. Therefore, an interactive approach to art in the field of public service advertisement will have numerous positive consequences for inviting people to participate in creating the work of art. The reason is that a definition of audience and interaction against the position of communications can be formulated through an affective approached and art has a discoursal function in the postmodern society. It is even possible to present new forms of interactive art in the field of social and public service advertisement with direct financial interventions and with the aim of affecting people's mind to arouse their awareness of these social problems. In these types of advertisement, therefore, participation is manifested in the moment and on the basis of the emotions and attention of the audience.
With the spread of postmodernist thought, artists are becoming more active in the field of public art. Accordingly, elitist perspectives cannot be imposed on the audience and, instead, art stands in direct interaction with the audience in a way that social function is prioritized over the art-for-art's-sake function of fine arts. This has freed the artistic from its dependence on the classic notions of aesthetics and decoration, thereby creating a participatory form of public art which contributes to social aims in the new discourse of our time. A major part of this new discourse is the connection of art and technology as well as audience participation in the completion and meaning-making of the work of art. Audience participation in the examples of interactive advertisement which present the artistic form through humanitarian aid has been enormously successful in establishing communications to arouse and encourage people's socialization by using new media because these advertisements use their participatory form to achieve the aims of public services. This will have positive consequences in the social field and change the nature of artistic form. Therefore, this interaction with social networks is a point of departure for offering a new definition of the role of the audience and the function of the work of art.
Prominent Results
The findings suggest that the interactive art used in public service advertisements will require audience participation which, in turn, brings about social participation in the completion of the work of art. Thus, the difference between culture and society is blurred and the traditional form of art tends towards decline. In fact, an important characteristic of the postmodern civil society is democratic mutual communication in social actions.


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