Interactive art is a form of art that involves the spectator in a way that allows the art to achieve its purpose. Some interactive art installations achieve this by letting the observer walk through, over or around them; others ask the artist or the spectators to become part of the artwork in some way. 
Works of this kind of art frequently feature computers, interfaces and sometimes sensors to respond to motion, heat, meteorological changes or other types of input their makers have programmed the works to respond to. Most examples of virtual Internet art and electronic art are highly interactive. Sometimes, visitors are able to navigate through a hypertext environment; some works accept textual or visual input from outside; sometimes an audience can influence the course of a performance or can even participate in it. Some other interactive artworks are considered as immersive as the quality of interaction involve all the spectrum of surrounding stimuli. Virtual reality environments like works by Maurice Benayoun and Jeffrey Shaw are highly interactive as the work the spectators – Maurice Benayoun call them "visitors", Miroslaw Rogala calls them (v)users, Char Davies "immersants" – interact with take all their fields of perception.
Though some of the earliest examples of interactive art have been dated back to the 1920s, most digital art didn't make its official entry into the world of art until the late 1990s.  Since this debut, countless museums and venues have been increasingly accommodating digital and interactive art into their productions. This budding genre of art is continuing to grow and evolve in a somewhat rapid manner through internet social sub-culture, as well as through large scale urban installations.
Interactive art is a genre of art in which the viewers participate in some way by providing an input in order to determine the outcome. Unlike traditional art forms, wherein the interaction of the spectator is merely a mental event, interactivity allows for various types of navigation, assembly, and/or contribution to an artwork, which goes far beyond purely psychological activity.  Interactivity as a medium produces meaning. 
Interactive art installations are generally computer-based and frequently rely on sensors, which gauge things such as temperature, motion, proximity, and other meteorological phenomena that the maker has programmed in order to elicit responses based on participant action. In interactive artworks, both the audience and the machine work together in dialogue in order to produce a unique artwork for each audience to observe. However, not all observers visualize the same picture. Because it is interactive art, each observer makes their own interpretation of the artwork and it may be completely different from another observer's views. 
Interactive art can be distinguished from generative art in that it constitutes a dialogue between the artwork and the participant; specifically, the participant has agency, or the ability, even in an unintentional manner, to act upon the artwork and is furthermore invited to do so within the context of the piece, i.e. the work affords the interaction. More often, we can consider that the work takes its visitor into account. In an increasing number of cases, an installation can be defined as a "responsive environment", especially those created by architects and designers. By contrast, Generative Art, which may be interactive, but not responsive per se, tends to be a monologue – the artwork may change or evolve in the presence of the viewer, but the viewer may not be invited to engage in the reaction but merely enjoy it. 
According to the new media artist and theorist [ citation needed ] Maurice Benayoun, the first piece of interactive art should be the work done by Parrhasius during his art contest with Zeuxis described by Pliny, in the fifth century B.C. when Zeuxis tried to unveil the painted curtain. The work takes its meaning from Zeuxis' gesture and wouldn't exist without it. Zeuxis, by its gesture, became part of Parrhasius' work. This shows that the specificity of interactive art resides often less in the use of computers than in the quality of proposed "situations" and the "Other's" involvement in the process of sensemaking. Nevertheless, computers and real time computing made the task easier and opened the field of virtuality – the potential emergence of unexpected (although possibly pre-written) futures – to contemporary arts.
Some of the earliest examples of interactive art were created as early as the 1920s. An example is Marcel Duchamp’s piece named Rotary Glass Plates. The artwork required the viewer to turn on the machine and stand at a distance of one meter in order to see an optical illusion. 
The present idea of interactive art began to flourish more in the 1960s for partly political reasons. At the time, many people found it inappropriate for artists to carry the only creative power within their works.[ citation needed ] Those artists who held this view wanted to give the audience their own part of this creative process. An early example is found in the early 1960s "change-paintings" of Roy Ascott, about whom Frank Popper has written: "Ascott was among the first artists to launch an appeal for total spectator participation".  Aside from the “political” view, it was also current wisdom that interaction and engagement had a positive part to play within the creative process. 
In the 1970s, artists began to use new technology such as video and satellites to experiment with live performances and interactions through the direct broadcast of video and audio. 
Interactive art became a large phenomenon due to the advent of computer-based interactivity in the 1990s. Along with this came a new kind of art-experience. Audience and machine were now able to more easily work together in dialogue in order to produce a unique artwork for each audience.  In the late 1990s, museums and galleries began increasingly incorporating the art form in their shows, some even dedicating entire exhibitions to it.  This continues today and is only expanding due to increased communications through digital media.
A hybrid emerging discipline drawing on the combined interests of specific artists and architects has been created in the last 10–15 years.[ when? ] Disciplinary boundaries have blurred, and significant number of architects and interactive designers have joined electronic artists in the creation of new, custom-designed interfaces and evolutions in techniques for obtaining user input (such as dog vision, alternative sensors, voice analysis, etc.); forms and tools for information display (such as video projection, lasers, robotic and mechatronic actuators, led lighting etc.); modes for human-human and human-machine communication (through the Internet and other telecommunications networks); and to the development of social contexts for interactive systems (such as utilitarian tools, formal experiments, games and entertainment, social critique, and political liberation).
There are many different forms of interactive art. Such forms range from interactive dance, music, and even drama.  New technology, primarily computer systems and computer technology, have enabled a new class of interactive art.  Examples of such interactive art are installation art, interactive architecture, interactive film, and interactive storytelling. Since there is a presumed participant or agent in interactivity, interactive art has a deep connection with performance art. 
The aesthetic impact of interactive art is more profound than expected.[ by whom? ]
Supporters of more "traditional" contemporary art saw, in the use of computers, a way to balance artistic deficiencies, some other consider that the art is not anymore in the achievement of the formal shape of the work but in the design of the rules that determine the evolution of the shape according to the quality of the dialogue.
There are number of globally significant festivals and exhibitions of interactive and media arts. Prix Ars Electronica is a major yearly competition and exhibition that gives awards to outstanding examples of (technology-driven) interactive art. Association of Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group in Graphics (SIGGRAPH), DEAF Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Transmediale Germany, FILE - Electronic Language International Festival Brazil, and AV Festival England, are among the others.
CAiiA, Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts, first established by Roy Ascott in 1994 at the University of Wales, Newport, and later in 2003 as the Planetary Collegium, was the first doctoral and post doc research center to be established specifically for research in the interactive art field.
Interactive architecture has now been installed on and as part of building facades, in foyers, museums, and large scale public spaces, including airports, in a number of global cities. A number of leading museums, for example, the National Gallery, Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum, and Science Museum in London (to cite the leading UK museums active in this field) were early adopters in the field of interactive technologies, investing in educational resources, and more latterly, in the creative use of MP3 players for visitors. In 2004, the Victoria & Albert Museum commissioned curator and author Lucy Bullivant to write Responsive Environments (2006), the first such publication of its kind. Interactive designers are frequently commissioned for museum displays; a number specialize in wearable computing.
Installation art is an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-specific and designed to transform the perception of a space. Generally, the term is applied to interior spaces, whereas exterior interventions are often called public art, land art or art intervention; however, the boundaries between these terms overlap.
Digital art refers to any artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process, or more specifically computational art that uses and engages with digital media.
Postdigital, in artistic practice, is an attitude that is more concerned with being human, than with being digital, similar to the concept of "undigital" introduced in 1995, where technology and society advances beyond digital limitations to achieve a totally fluid multimediated reality that is free from artefacts of digital computation.
Generative art refers to art that in whole or in part has been created with the use of an autonomous system. An autonomous system in this context is generally one that is non-human and can independently determine features of an artwork that would otherwise require decisions made directly by the artist. In some cases the human creator may claim that the generative system represents their own artistic idea, and in others that the system takes on the role of the creator.
Electronic art is a form of art that makes use of electronic media. More broadly, it refers to technology and/or electronic media. It is related to information art, new media art, video art, digital art, interactive art, internet art, and electronic music. It is considered an outgrowth of conceptual art and systems art.
Information art, which is also known as informatism or data art, is an emerging art form that is inspired by and principally incorporates data, computer science, information technology, artificial intelligence, and related data-driven fields. The information revolution has resulted in over-abundant data that are critical in a wide range of areas, from the Internet to healthcare systems. Related to conceptual art, electronic art and new media art, informatism considers this new technological, economical, and cultural paradigm shift, such that artworks may provide social commentaries, synthesize multiple disciplines, and develop new aesthetics. Realization of information art often take, although not necessarily, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches incorporating visual, audio, data analysis, performance, and others. Furthermore, physical and virtual installations involving informatism often provide human-computer interaction that generate artistic contents based on the processing of large amounts of data.
Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), a non-profit and tax-exempt organization, was established in 1967 to develop collaborations between artists and engineers. The group operated by facilitating person-to-person contacts between artists and engineers, rather than defining a formal process for cooperation. E.A.T. initiated and carried out projects that expanded the role of the artist in contemporary society and helped explore the separation of the individual from technological change.
Rebecca Allen is an internationally recognized digital artist inspired by the aesthetics of motion, the study of perception and behavior and the potential of advanced technology. Her artwork, which spans four decades and takes the form of experimental video, large-scale performances, live simulations and virtual and augmented reality art installations, addresses issues of gender, identity and what it means to be human as technology redefines our sense of reality.
Scott Snibbe is an interactive media artist, entrepreneur, and meditation instructor who is currently the host of A Skeptic's Path to Enlightenment meditation podcast. He has collaborated with other artists and musicians, including Björk on her interactive “app album” Björk: Biophilia that was acquired by New York's MoMA as the first downloadable app in the museum's collection. Between 2000 and 2013 he founded several companies, including Eyegroove, which was acquired by Facebook in 2016. Early in his career, Snibbe was one of the developers of After Effects.
Maurice Benayoun is a French new-media artist, curator, and theorist based in Paris and Hong Kong.
Virtual art is a term for the virtualization of art, made with the technical media developed at the end of the 1980s. These include human-machine interfaces such as visualization casks, stereoscopic spectacles and screens, digital painting and sculpture, generators of three-dimensional sound, data gloves, data clothes, position sensors, tactile and power feed-back systems, etc. As virtual art covers such a wide array of mediums it is a catch-all term for specific focuses within it. Much contemporary art has become, in Frank Popper's terms, virtualized.
Responsive architecture is an evolving field of architectural practice and research. Responsive architectures are those that measure actual environmental conditions to enable buildings to adapt their form, shape, color or character responsively.
Golan Levin is an American new media artist, composer, performer and engineer interested in developing artifacts and events which explore supple new modes of reactive expression.
Telematic art is a descriptive of art projects using computer-mediated telecommunications networks as their medium. Telematic art challenges the traditional relationship between active viewing subjects and passive art objects by creating interactive, behavioural contexts for remote aesthetic encounters. Telematics was first coined by Simon Nora and Alain Minc in The Computerization of Society. Roy Ascott sees the telematic art form as the transformation of the viewer into an active participator of creating the artwork which remains in process throughout its duration. Ascott has been at the forefront of the theory and practice of telematic art since 1978 when he went online for the first time, organizing different collaborative online projects.
Internet art is a form of new media art distributed via the Internet. This form of art circumvents the traditional dominance of the physical gallery and museum system. In many cases, the viewer is drawn into some kind of interaction with the work of art. Artists working in this manner are sometimes referred to as net artists.
Maurizio Bolognini is a post-conceptual media artist. His installations are mainly concerned with the aesthetics of machines, and are based on the minimal and abstract activation of technological processes that are beyond the artist's control, at the intersection of generative art, public art and e-democracy.
New media art includes artworks designed and produced by means of electronic media technologies, comprising virtual art, computer graphics, computer animation, digital art, interactive art, sound art, Internet art, video games, robotics, 3D printing, and cyborg art. The term defines itself by the thereby created artwork, which differentiates itself from that deriving from conventional visual arts. New Media art has origins in the worlds of science, art, and performance. Some common themes found in new media art include databases, political and social activism, Afrofuturism, feminism, and identity, a ubiquitous theme found throughout is the incorporation of new technology into the work. The emphasis on medium is a defining feature of much contemporary art and many art schools and major universities now offer majors in "New Genres" or "New Media" and a growing number of graduate programs have emerged internationally. New media art may involve degrees of interaction between artwork and observer or between the artist and the public, as is the case in performance art. Yet, as several theorists and curators have noted, such forms of interaction, social exchange, participation, and transformation do not distinguish new media art but rather serve as a common ground that has parallels in other strands of contemporary art practice. Such insights emphasize the forms of cultural practice that arise concurrently with emerging technological platforms, and question the focus on technological media per se. New Media art involves complex curation and preservation practices that make collecting, installing, and exhibiting the works harder than most other mediums. Many cultural centers and museums have been established to cater to the advanced needs of new media art.
Cybernetic art is contemporary art that builds upon the legacy of cybernetics, where feedback involved in the work takes precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. The relationship between cybernetics and art can be summarised in three ways: cybernetics can be used to study art, to create works of art or may itself be regarded as an art form in its own right.