Ksenia Fedorova – Tactics of Interfacing, Encoding Affect in Art and Technology


The MIT Press, ISBN-13: 978-0262044158, English,, 336 pages, 2020, USA

Our ongoing dialog with machines has shifted from straightforward technical procedures to increasingly anthropomorphic forms of engagement. This rapid evolution in the use of interfaces and its often destabilising behavioural and even epistemological consequences, are discussed in this engaging book. Fedorova uses a wide but meticulous selection of media artworks to show how the interfaces we now engage with have disrupted our experience with what is inside and what is outside ourselves. She begins with the absolutely strategic role of the face, used, recognised, represented and acknowledged by machines, following with the self, the body and their quantifications, in particular in feedback-based performances. Our attitude to project better human qualities to simulated human entities than they actually have is subsequently explored, in a revealing trajectory that begins with early text-based processes. Finally, the perception of space is questioned in multiple ways: as a system, a database, an extension of the self, and more. The consistent argument maintained throughout the book is that interfaces structure experience. Fedorova’s consistent examination of the whole framework of this experience through media art discloses a number of transformations that challenge our own concept of what it means to be human.