There are several important ideas she zeroes in on:
In her review of the work of Anne Friedberg, these notions of the opaqueness are understood mainly in the dichotomy between the materiality of computer screens themselves and the perception of them as transparent thresholds (Hristova, 2017, p. 835). One might be able to digest this through the general confusion that pervades cultural ideas of what a computer screen and virtuality are. Why did a company like Apple invoke the idea of the Cloud for its branding of the iCloud? Signifying not only that it is a spatial place through symbolism but also directing attention to the “immateriality” of this place. While in truth it is just an earth-bound server network of humongous proportions. Even though this information is not redacted or secret by any means, its natural obfuscation leads to a sense of opaqueness to most anything related to our technological systems. When one hears that it is just a continuously backed up network of server systems backing up one’s information, this feels less distant and less secure. Easily prone to mismanagement and data loss, since all data in the end is related to a physical object, namely the hard-drive or solid-state drive.
Secondly, through the analysis of the work of Wendy Chun. She explores the view that the computer transitioned from being a “viewing machine” into being a “visualizing technology”. This being a fundamental shift in the understanding of computational devices. She writes “The popularization of the graphic-based operating system in place of the command line programming marked a significant shift away from the perception of the computer as a writing machine “ (Hristova, 2017, p. 835). One could argue that the command line she speaks of is the “purest” form of interface, one that does not base itself in self-deception or theatrics of representation. This switch in perception could be taken as the point where aesthetics ingrained itself into the very fabric of technological progress. Becoming a tool in this ever-changing space.
After getting a general grasp of these notions we can circle back onto the work of Galloway and his definition of the interface. “The interface is this state of “being on the boundary.” It is that moment where one significant material is understood as distinct from another significant material. In other words, an interface is not a thing, an interface is always an effect. It is always a process or a translation.” (Galloway, 2008, p. 938). To minds trained to see interfaces as the objects which control effects it might be a hard thought to accept. However, this definition allows us to develop our vernacular in order to discuss these concepts with greater accuracy. In turn he ushers into his work a term by François Dagognet that of the interface as a “fertile nexus”. A special “space” in between where elements or systems mix and cause effects (Galloway, 2008, p. 938).
Through his work in exploring the nature of interface Galloway affixes towards the limitations inherent in all the analogies of doors, windows or thresholds as a way of understanding the interface. Which inexorably must give rise to a new idea through attempts at transcending these barriers in vernacular. He finds the material to fix this gap in expression in the term he dubbed “The Intraface”; “the intraface, that is, an interface internal to the interface. The key here is that the interface is within the aesthetic, not a window or doorway separating the space that spans from here to there.” (Galloway, 2008, p. 944). Although undeniably an interesting concept to explore, due to the length and brevity of this article, we will have to leave it for another time.