Tag Archives: Telepresence

The Desktop Interface and Teleaction

The way we choose to organize our world dictates our own place within it—in Gothic times the cathedral, for example, stood at the center of town, inherently helping us perceive what was important, where we stood in relation to it, and how we should and could interact with the rest of the space surrounding it.

The first generation of interface designers had to decide, then, how to organize the computer space. They had, essentially, an entire world at their fingertips, which they could mold and design and organize in any way possible—the space could look like anything. It was important, however, especially given he limitations of technology of the time, that the space was easy to represent.

In this week’s reading of Interface Culture, Johnson takes us through the creation and evolution of the desktop from its early stages to the interface we know today. Throughout his discussion in this chapter, he emphasizes consistently the idea of the “desktop metaphor.” Similar to the metaphor we discussed last class, it encompasses the way in which reality is represented and even simulated on the desktop interface and how those representations help us to understand the way we use and navigate it. Continue reading



            Teleaction, according to Manovich, is a very different operation. This because it is a complicated operation used to access new media, representing a shift from representation to conceptual space with telecommunication.  Manovich argues that real-time communication technologies (telegraph, telephone, television, telepresence, etc.) became subsidiary to technologies of representation (film, digital storage, etc) because of a shift in aesthetic. He relates this to definitions by Roland Barthes and Nelson Goodman deeming only finite objects as “texts” that can be “read.” But doesn’t the Internet and the increase use other real-time communication change all of this?

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