Vicci Ho is a writer, film programmer and producer. She has written for Variety and worked for film festivals across the globe, including Toronto International Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival and directed the Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.  She is the President of Janitor Interactive: a production company specializing in games.

This is her personal page.

Just what is interactivity?

As I was doing Crawford's reading it made me think about what I consider to be interactivity. I guess for me, in its simplest terms, interactivity is a 'two-way street'. Crawford is correct in differentiating a difference between being affected by a novel or a film, as the novel will not respond to me crying all over its pages. A film might make me go through many emotions, but its outcome will also not be affected by the fact that I was angry about something that happened. It can however be a source of interactivity, allowing you to discuss the material with someone else. The internet as we know it is of course a fantastic platform for interactivity: from IRCs to message boards to Hangouts: the internet is fun because it is the most efficient platform to have a conversation with others. One medium that I find particularly interesting in this discussion is video games. As a user, it is immersive and involving as the player has to physically control the actions within the game. Within an online game, you are interacting with other people to complete/compete objectives. That, in my opinion, is definitely an interactive experience. But is it interactive when you are given control to change the outcome of a game? If there is a game that provides you with several options to handle a particularly objective, and the outcome of that decision will affect the remainder of the game, is that considered an interactive experience?? I have had several conversations with friends who do not play video games and highlighted video games as becoming more interactive in its storytelling, but as I think about it some more I am no longer sure if that actually counts as interactivity.

Brent Victor's rant was one that hit me quite hard. As much as I am glued to my android phone a lot of the times, I am one of those more 'old-fashioned' people who secretly misses a blackberry for typing and finds it pretty much impossible to write an email on a tablet because the tactile quality I feel with my fingers allows me to be much more efficient that touching or swiping a glass surface. While there is all this talk of the inevitable death of personal computers, I don't believe that the vision presented in the video Victor included will become a norm. It would be a waste of all the physical capabilities we have to reduce everything to a screen. It's still great to flick a book and hear the pages turn, touch a record and feel its uneven surface, or feel the vibration of the gaming controller as we play video games. Physically feeling what we are doing, I believe, is still a necessary human 'interaction'.

Maybe there is a reason why Microsoft's "Surface" (the table computer and the tablet" failed so miserably, after all?

ICM week 2 - animated fishies!

Visual Language Week 1 - Alien