Curator of the 4th Moscow Contemporary Art Biennial, Peter Weibel. Press photo.

A pronounced feature of contemporary art, in its evolution from modern art, is a web. What does this web mean? – it means to be connected, everyone can participate, anybody can be at the center of it. Thanks to the internet and the possibilities it's given us, now anybody can be editor in chief, anybody can create their own television, etc. Everybody can be in the center. Contemporary art is an open field for activity, which also has room for the viewer. This can be called interactivity, but I prefer to formulate it as everybody being given the chance to act, to get involved.

 
A work from the Biennial: Daniel Canogar (Spain, 1964). Scanner. 2009

When we look at something, it is also the act of looking. Take, for instance, Olafur Eliasson's work at the Biennial, Afterimage Star” (2008): because of the peculiarities of sight, we see different colors. Namely, even in the act of seeing, something is construed, changed. It is active work. The artist doesn't have a monopoly on the act anymore; the viewer plays an equal role. It is similar in politics, where today the politicians aren't the only ones who have a say. If representative democracy has ruled up to now, then performative democracy, in which the people participate, is now on the rise. Art is ahead in this game – there are a slew of pieces where the viewer can “push a button” and influence changes. In politics, the old model is still in place, where only every four or five years the people can get involved through voting. Whereas in reality, thanks to internet technologies – and contemporary art – the individual actively participates on a daily basis by “pressing the button” hundreds of times. This indicates that the political system is dated and wrong. The result is a dissatisfied and angry society which we can see, for example, in the uprising in Libya. As we know, art is the world's mirror, and contemporary art shows a contemporary world. Therefore, today's world anticipates performativity – everyone has the opportunity to participate actively, to construe, to collectively rewrite the world. As this pertains to artistic mediums, today it is no longer important if it is painting or the latest technologies – they are all only instruments, equal in value: none is more antiquated than the others, they are only differing methods.

With art becoming more interactive – where the involvement of the viewer is part of the work's total worth – won't the traditions of collecting art eventually change?

Thank you for that well-made observation. In answering, I'll outline the history. Art museums have given people a wrong perception of art history. The pieces of art on display in museums weren't created to be shown in this way; they would have belonged to churches or private owners. Renaissance art was commissioned by aristocrats. Today, we call such wealthy people with power “oligarchs”. “I have a huge house, I have money, Mr. Velasquez – paint a delightful fresco.” And no one else saw it, only the owners of the house or members of the church. These were commissions and, however strange it may seem, people have begun to forget this. They look at it and enjoy it as wonderful, independent art. That, which we see, hasn't been created by the free-flying spirit of the artist, but by necessity. As a result, artists of the time, such as Da Vinci, as well as later artists, for instance, Kandinsky, mainly discussed how to create art, its technicalities. There were books written about it and so on. So, when commissioned works disappeared in the 19th century (because the aristocracy collapsed), artists were consumed by a completely new question: “why create art?”. There was no longer an outside force, a necessity – just an inner desire. However, the formation of this class of ordering customers is already repeating itself; once again, there are wealthy private collectors and an impressive art market. By addition, it's even worse to create works for the art market than to just take commissions.