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The Curtain and the Grapes - Gordon Blocker


According to Pliny, The Elder, it all began in the 5th Century BC with a contest between two Athenian painters to determine which was the greatest painter of the time.  The first painter, Parrhasius, painted grapes so perfectly that a flock of birds flew through the window to eat them.  The second painter, Zeuxis, invited Parrhasius to his studio where his painting was draped by a curtain.  When Parrhasius was invited to remove the curtain so he could judge the quality of the painting, he was astounded to find it was not a curtain, but a painting of a curtain.  This, according to Pliny, was the first interactive art; Parrhasius’s gesture to remove the curtain gave the painting meaning.

In the 1920s, artists began to create interactive projects in which there was

a dialogue between the artwork and the viewer. This was a sharing of the

creative process in which the viewer was a participant in the process

whereby his or her actions validated or altered the meaning of the work.

With the coming of the computer age, designers began to apply this collaboration concept to digital projects. Early applications were video games in which users could interact with the content. Now the computer is essential in business communications where the creator of the system allows the user to take an active role in the design, editing and application of the message. Blocker Publishing has been a pioneer in this new world of electronic communication partnership, developing interactive systems that make a difference in peoples’ lives.

BP interactive programs have been especially effective for training. Among these programs was a six-hour interactive schema training for American Airlines personnel in the areas of anti-terrorism, including profiling, passport forgery detection, suspicious signs, E-scan detection, aircraft search and emergency procedures. The key to the program’s success was that it involved the student, made hypothetical situations real and brought the student fully into the scenario. For Coca-Cola, Sara Lee, Earthgrains and other clients, BP created interactive programs to train personnel in the use of proprietary hand-held mobile computers. Again, simulation of real-life situations in which trainees could choose among a variety of solutions was key. The training was done so that the company route personnel could begin working effectively on day one of the rollout of the new technologies.

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