Matthew Fuller – Behind the Blip

Matthew Fuller

book – Autonomedia – ISBN 1570271399
‘Behind the Blip’ addresses the need of a critical and pragmatic analysis of that complex and fleeting entity called ‘software’. The constant presence of interpretative interfaces for any kind of communications between people (and between people and machines) offers thousands of starting points to think about the crowded ecosystem of informations and mediated relations which emerged in during the last decade. From his historic experience of artistic and theoretical works (from ‘The Web Stalker’, one of the first alternative browsers, to ‘Natural Selection’, a search engine sensitive to racist themes, to ‘Text-FM’, an uncensored SMS reader made with a voice synthesizer linked to a radio station), the author covers, stategically widening the analysis, the mutated concept of software. This is observed from many points of view, both as an immaterial product targeted to determined results and as an interpretative level of any media product.The analysis of the iconic and metaphorical entity of the ‘user’ is precious and ably configured as an entity (shaped by the interface) created for the benefit of the IT industry. The assumptions of social and cultural control built by the industry itself are deeply shaken, while new interpretative paths are traced which intersect with documented observations and skillfully cross several fields. This is one of the most interesting strategies since, starting from original perspectives, such as architectural, video and sci-fi experiments, shows how the software code penetrates the cultural and social development, with an excellent and merciless analysis of Microsoft Word as an example.