Hopefully someone can formulate a better response to this than I can, but I find the ideas behind these items (in the article, we see a clock that saws itself to death, but only when you are out of the room–a lamp, and a frame that blurs your photographs if you don’t pick them up and look at them often) absolutely fascinating.
Earlier today, we discussed the difference between gaming and, say, watching a movie or reading a book. We tend not to think of our furniture as media, even if they incorporate technology or directly send us messages (as any clock does with the time, for example). But could furniture be media? Do you feel that the clock and frame mentioned in the article can be interpreted as media? If so, where would they fall on the spectrum between action-based and interactive?
Obviously, there are limited outcomes–eventually the clock will die, or it won’t; eventually, the photograph will be blurred, or it won’t. But there are also limited outcomes in games–in World of Warcraft, you have some control over when you die, where you die, how you die–but really, life and death are the only real modes your character can take, and most actions in the game revolve around maintaining or putting off that line that divides them. We may not use a healing potion or coordinate a stealth attack to make sure the clock doesn’t die, but our relationship with the clock that saws itself to death when we’re not around is both as symbiotic and meaningful as our relation to any game I can think of.