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Sunday Book-Thought 116

Dagognet articulates the basic question, even if he doesn’t provide the most useful answer: what is an edge and what is a center? Where does the image end and the frame begin? This is something with which artists have played for generations. Digital media are exceptionally good at artifice and often the challenge comes in maintaining the distinction between edge and center, a distinction that threatens to collapse at any point like a house of cards. For example, the difference is entirely artificial between legible ASCII text, on a Web page, for example, and ASCII text used in HTML markup on that same page. It is a matter of syntactic techniques of encoding. One imposes a certain linguistic and stylistic construct in order to create these artificial differentiations. Technically speaking, the artificial distinction is the case all the way down: there is no essential difference between data and algorithm, the differentiation is purely artificial. The interface is this state of ‘being on the boundary.’ It is that moment where on 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. Again, Dagognet: a fertile nexus.
Alexander R. Galloway, The Interface Effect (Cambridge: Poltiy PRess, 2012), p. 33.


Sunday Book-Thought 115

There is a lesson here for anyone who attempts to make sense of the high-tech world, a lesson that is close to the heart of this book’s primary thesis. At the threshold points near the birth of new technology, all types of distortions and misunderstandings are bound to appear – misunderstandings not only of how the machines actually work but also of more subtle matters: what realm of experience the new technologies belong to, what values they perpetuate, where their more indirect effects will take place.
– Steven Johnson, Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate (New York: HarperEdge, 1997), pp. 211-212.