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Printed at: 27/09/2016  –  06:16:36


The Interface Effect

By: Alexander R. Galloway


Description

Interfaces are back, or perhaps they never left. The familiar Socratic conceit from the Phaedrus, of communication as the process of writing directly on the soul of the other, has returned to center stage in today's discussions of culture and media. Indeed Western thought has long construed media as a grand choice between two kinds of interfaces. Following the optimistic path, media seamlessly interface self and other in a transparent and immediate connection. But, following the pessimistic path, media are the obstacles to direct communion, disintegrating self and other into misunderstanding and contradiction. In other words, media interfaces are either clear or complicated, either beautiful or deceptive, either already known or endlessly interpretable.

Recognizing the limits of either path, Galloway charts an alternative course by considering the interface as an autonomous zone of aesthetic activity, guided by its own logic and its own ends: the interface effect. Rather than praising user-friendly interfaces that work well, or castigating those that work poorly, this book considers the unworkable nature of all interfaces, from windows and doors to screens and keyboards. Considered allegorically, such thresholds do not so much tell the story of their own operations but beckon outward into the realm of social and political life, and in so doing ask a question to which the political interpretation of interfaces is the only coherent answer.

Grounded in philosophy and cultural theory and driven by close readings of video games, software, television, painting, and other images, Galloway seeks to explain the logic of digital culture through an analysis of its most emblematic and ubiquitous manifestation –  the interface.

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Hardcover
Status
Available
Edition
First Edition
ISBN
9780745662527
ISBN10
0745662528
Publication Dates ROW:
Sep 2012
Publication Dates US:
Oct 2012
Publication Dates Aus & NZ:
Sep 2012


Format
224 x 145 mm
8.80 x 5.70 in
Pages
200 pages
Paperback
Status
Available
Edition
First Edition
ISBN
9780745662534
ISBN10
0745662536
Publication Dates ROW:
Sep 2012
Publication Dates US:
Oct 2012
Publication Dates Aus & NZ:
Sep 2012



Format
216 x 140 mm
8.50 x 5.48 in
Pages
200 pages
E-book
Status
Available
Edition
First Edition
ISBN
9780745662923
ISBN10
0745662927
Publication Dates ROW:
May 2013
Publication Dates US:
May 2013
Publication Dates Aus & NZ:
May 2013


Format
229 x 152 mm
9.02 x 5.98 in
Pages
200 pages

* Exam copies only available to lecturers for whom the book may be suitable as a course text.
Please note: Sales representation and distribution for Polity titles is provided by John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

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Reviews

"Of vital importance to digital research; it should be included in any studies of the digital or mediated domain."
Media International Australia

"The Interface Effect fuses sophisticated contemporary theory with a detailed knowledge of the technics and techniques of digital media. Galloway is an important voice, and the book is sure to have a wide uptake among those interested in new media theory and contemporary aesthetics."
Jodi Dean, author of Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive

"Employing a sustained, powerful methodology, The Interface Effect sparkles with original insights. Galloway is interested not only in the effects that interfaces have, but also in them as themselves the results of cultural, technological, economic, and political forces. This double movement provides a way to connect the historical with the political, and the technological with both. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in new media studies, contemporary theory, and digital technologies."
N. Katherine Hayles, Professor of Literature, Duke University, and author of How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface
Introduction: The Computer as a Mode of Mediation
I. The Unworkable Interface
II. Software and Ideology
III. Are Some Things Unrepresentable?
IV. Disingenuous Informatics
Postscript: We Are the Gold Farmers
Notes
Index

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Author Information

Alexander R.  Galloway is Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.

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