New Models for Building Interfaces as Fiction

Norman Klein

All media, for thousands of years, rely on carefully designed “spaces between” to tell story.
A computer interface has many forms of absence that generate unique paradoxes, which in turn make story much more powerful. These may not be the “usual” kind of story, perhaps not fiction in the way that it appears in a book; but fiction nonetheless. But to get the story to really hum, these spaces between are not simply more finish; they are more like unfinish brilliantly designed. How might this idea be embodied in tangible form? What is an absence within the computer? What “holes” in the way computers operate can be turned into mental “interactive” story?
The project will use this theoretical provocation to generate new models for interface design built upon an existing database of historical images of an imagined future. The theme of the interfaces/stories will center on how to respond to our unique crisis in 2009—our “futures.” The results will be documented in either an exhibition or an online publication and will serve to inform the next generation of the project The Imaginary 20th Century, as well as provide models for thinking about interface, narrative, and “futures” in new ways.

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