This research was initiated to determine the essential characteristics of
participatory works of art that use computer technology.
Through comparing ideas and practices which emerged during the practical
development of a participatory work called Smallworld with those reported by
makers and critics of existing works a need was identified for a general system
of analysis of these works which can be remembered easily and applied in their
critical evaluation and realisation.
The thesis proposes a system of analysis in which the principal characteristics
are considered to be those which contribute to the degree and manner of
control afforded to participants.
The system can be applied in the composition of works as well as in their
analysis: it is demonstrated that the characteristics identified can be composed
and that works can be considered to be compositions of changing degree and
manner of control.
The system proposed is intended to serve as a paradigm for the development of
further systems to analyse such works and to contribute to the evolution of a
language with which to discuss them.
Although the thesis addresses a special class of the use of interactive computer
technology it is intended to contribute to the broader discussion of the use of
computer technology in participatory situations.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.