The Metainterface: The Art of Platforms, Cities, and Clouds
Authors: Andersen, Christian Ulrik & Pold, Soren Bro
Publisher: MIT Press
Synopsis: How the interface has moved from the PC into cultural platforms, as seen in a series of works of net art, software art and electronic literature.
The computer interface is both omnipresent and invisible, at once embedded in everyday objects and characterized by hidden exchanges of information between objects. The interface has moved from office into culture, with devices, apps, the cloud, and data streams as new cultural platforms. In The Metainterface, Christian Ulrik Andersen and Søren Bro Pold examine the relationships between art and interfaces, tracing the interface's disruption of everyday cultural practices. They present a new interface paradigm of cloud services, smartphones, and data capture, and examine how particular art forms—including net art, software art, and electronic literature—seek to reflect and explore this paradigm.
Andersen and Pold argue that despite attempts to make the interface disappear into smooth access and smart interaction, it gradually resurfaces; there is a metainterface to the displaced interface. Art can help us see this; the interface can be an important outlet for aesthetic critique. Andersen and Pold describe the “semantic capitalism” of a metainterface industry that captures user behavior; the metainterface industry's disruption of everyday urban life, changing how the city is read, inhabited, and organized; the ways that the material displacement of the cloud affects the experience of the interface; and the potential of designing with an awareness of the language and grammar of interfaces.
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