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Tact And Determination

22 Jan 2001 12:00:00 GMT

French Web artist Antoine Schmitt takes us through his virtual world.

Dance with it: Schmitt's interactive art
Dance with it: Schmitt's interactive art
Although it may appear the US has a monopoly on spawning the world's leading Net artists, Paris is beginning to stake a claim.

The annual International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) took place in the city at the end of 2000, and now the person seen by many as one of the most creative pioneers of the medium is Frenchman Antoine Schmitt.

Schmitt was a computer programmer and a frustrated artist - a perfect match.

Touching: Tact and Determination
Touching: Tact and Determination
Schmitt says: "I tried photography and drawing but was never really satisfied. I realized when I wanted to express or explore an idea, it was really much simpler for me to write a computer program."

Schmitt's two current works, Avec Tact (with touch) and Avec Determination (with determination), offer the user a truly interactive experience.

In Avec Tact, objects exist to be played with. The user tantalizes and manipulates with every move of the mouse, creating magnetism with one movement and repulsion with another. The result is a kind of dance, led by the user with the computer playing the sometimes shy, sometimes playful partner.

In Avec Determination, however, the objects have will. They are all programmed with a desire to stand up and walk, but with their cumbersome dynamics, they never quite make it.

Tragic: Avec Determination
Tragic: Avec Determination
Added to this is the user's actions, which seem to impair their mission further and with the best intentions at heart, you can do nothing but hinder their progress. As Schmitt himself puts it: "It's like a small tragedy."

Avec Determination has just been voted the world's best site of the week by world-3000.com. It looks like it's not just the Americans with an eye on the future of art. Vivre la revolution.

- Aaron Paul

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