Once I heard that back in the ’90s when “Interactive art” became an established genre there was this one-line joke:
(This is ’89, before 3d games and virtual reality)
In The Legible City the visitor is able to ride a stationary bicycle through a simulated representation of a city that is constituted by computer-generated three-dimensional letters that form words and sentences along the sides of the streets.
The Manhattan version (1989) of this work comprises eight separate fictional story lines in the form of monologues by ex-Mayor Koch, Frank Lloyd Wright, Donald Trump, a tour guide, a confidence trickster, an ambassador and a taxi-driver.
You can say that is generated because it’s real-time but the structure of the text is fixed like a choose-your-own-adventure game. You can navigate through it but you don’t really affect it.
Side question: can there be open interactivity without technology?
ADA – analog interactive installation / kinetic sculpture / post-digital drawing machine by Karina Smigla-Bobinski. 2011.
The Obliteration Room – Yayoi Kusama (2002-2012)
A cybernetic answer:
The idea of involving the whole body with an image on a screen was revolutionary around 20 years ago (Myron Kreuger’s Video Place) but has been since assimilated in our everyday lives (gaming, advertising, education, fitness…)
The level of engagement with the work is often physical and interactive artworks are often dismissed as mere technological toys unable to foster deep intellectual engagement.
Wu Wei by Shawn Lawson and Wafaa Bilal 2003.
Wu Wei is a fundamental Taoist principle meaning: without action.