…experimental research is culturally necessary and serves to transform how to simulate, interact with, and experience the world. – Joel Slayton, Foreword to Stephen Wilson’s Information Arts
Digital technologies and art have been coupled since the early days of digital computing in the 1960s. The figures below from Event One, a computer arts exhibition in London in 1969, and the Computer Arts Society, a group also active in London during the 1960s, prefigure ambient displays (Figure 1) and embodied interaction (Figure 2).
Artist David Rokeby mastered his practice of embodied interaction in 1986 with his development of Very Nervous System. Very Nervous System invites people to move within their everyday environment. Their movements evoke music from the system (Figure 3), thus exploring the resonant nature of interaction and its ability to create insight into people’s motion in their familiar spaces. Like many digital artists, Rokeby has written extensively on interaction and provides an example of interaction discourse from an alternative perspective. While computer science defines interaction as the “joint performance of tasks by humans and machines”, and related definitions , to Rokeby,“A technology is interactive to the degree that it reflects the consequences of our actions or decisions back to us” . In the 1980s, Rokeby came to consider topics HCI researchers in the 2000s have been exploring as part of HCI’s third wave:
The computer as a medium is strongly biased …. Because the computer is purely logical, the language of interaction should strive to be intuitive. Because the computer removes you from your body, the body should be strongly engaged. Because the computer’s activity takes place on the tiny playing fields of integrated circuits, the encounter with the computer should take place in human-scaled physical space. Because the computer is objective and dis- interested, the experience should be intimate .
Digital artists can prefigure issues in computer science research and engage in discourse from alternative perspectives.
 Hewett T., Baecker, R.M., Card, S., Carey, J., Gasen, J.B., Mantei, M., Perlman, G., Strong, G.W. and Verplank, B. ACM SIGCHI Curricula for Human-Computer Interaction. Available at http://old.sigchi.org/cdg/cdg2.html. Last updated 2009-07-29.
 Rokeby, D. Transforming Mirrors: Subjectivity and Control in Interactive Media. 1996. Available at http://homepage.mac.com/davidrokeby/mirrors.html.
 Rokeby, D. Very Nervous System. Available at http://homepage.mac.com/davidrokeby/vns.html.
 artsactive.net. Available at http://artsactive.net.