Act Otherwise participants 2013Act Otherwise participants 2013Act Otherwise participants 2013Act Otherwise participants 2013Act Otherwise participants 2013Act Otherwise participants at 20 Wellington Road, 2013 Act Otherwise: Art and Ethics

What are the conflicts that often arise between artists’ work and ethical approval, the ethics of working in public space and the ethics of interactive work?

The second iteration of Act Otherwise, Art and Ethics, took place at the Blast Theory studios on the 13th - 15th February 2013 and was presented in partnership with The University of Nottingham’s Horizon Digital Economy Research Group.

The event was also streamed live to an online audience.

Act Otherwise

Collaborations between artists and researchers to create interactive performances raise interesting ethical issues in areas such as the framing of experience; the nature of consent; the treatment of personal and scientific data; deliberately causing discomfort; engaging bystanders in public settings; and safety and risk management. Dealing with such issues can become particularly challenging when a single project has to answer to both artistic and research ethical processes in order to be acceptable both as an artwork and a research study.

The Act Otherwise forum drew together artists and researchers to explore the ethical challenges of interactive performance, identifying key issues, current approaches for dealing with them, and discussing implications for both practice and research. It was structured around a series of case studies, drawn from the work of multiple artists, which were considered alongside studies, concepts and methods contributed by researchers from varied disciplinary backgrounds.

The first part of the seminar was an intensive examination of case studies led by scholars from the University of Nottingham and an invited group of outstanding artists and practitioners, technologists, humanities scholars and ethicists. The second part of the seminar was a wider with more participants, structured around a series of themed discussions, short presentations and debates around some of the following issues

  • Who cares about ethical issues and why?
  • What might one do about these issues in the future?
  • Are ethical frameworks in the interest of practicing artists and how would you communicate them?
  • What are the ethical issues surrounding data?
  • Is there an illusion of choice?
  • What are the boundaries around fiction and reality?
  • How, as an artist, do you take responsibility for yourself and audience members?

A full report on this event can be downloaded here.


Act Otherwise is Blast Theory’s annual forum which brings together a cross-section of the most talented artists, scholars, broadcasters and curators working in interactive narratives, games and location based media.

The goal of Act Otherwise is to share key challenges and concerns together in a relaxed setting and engage in conversation which might be practical or theoretical and which may be concerned with the practicalities of now or the possibilities of the future.

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