Christian Ulrik Andersen, Søren Bro Pold – The Metainterface: The Art of Platforms, Cities, and Clouds


The MIT Press, ISBN-13: 978-0262037945, English, 248 pages, 2018, USA

Andersen and Pold have dedicated years to the study and analysis of computer interfaces, particularly through net art, software art and, more recently, the electronic literature scene. Artists belonging to these scenes have precognised media mechanisms which are often normalised by the industry later on. They produced and still produce anti-bodies to this symbolic subjugation through the boycotting of the standardised mechanisms, or unveiling the material consequences of global scale computing and connecting. As has already emerged in their previous “Interface Criticism” there’s a materiality of interfaces, as they’re activated by gestures, and in turn activating much more than a further step in a process. But there’s also an increasing invisibility of interfaces, a quality used by the industry to light up the responsibility of our gestures/commands. That’s why the authors affirm that the software industry “inflicts new symbolic systems”, so they propose a semantic capitalisation of language and territorial control, beyond the virtualisation of material architectures. Their definition of the interface is a ‘construct’ which doesn’t completely disappear, but it “gradually resurfaces”. This disappearing is transparent with the cloud, which is replacing the desktop as the current main metaphor, and establishing the next interface shared territory.