Towards Metainterface Realism

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

See relations at Aarhus University

Søren Bro Pold - Lecturer

Christian Ulrik Andersen - Lecturer

The computer interface is both omnipresent and invisible, at once integrated into everyday objects and characterized by hidden exchanges of information between objects. With the current spread of mobile devices, embedded sensors, cloud services, and data capture, a new interface paradigm, the metainterface, arises where data and software disappear from our devices and into the global cloud. The metainterface indicates, that the interface has become more abstract, generalized, but also spatialized in the sense of being ubiquitous, mobile, urban and related to the things of our environment. The metainterface as concept, industry (e.g. Amazon, Google, Apple, Spotify, Netflix, Facebook, etc.) and art/design practice calls for a new kind of realism which combines what you see (e.g. the data, tools, operations, transactions) with how you see it (the metainterface and its software, networks and executions), including how it sees you (how the user/users are captured, datafied, profiled, computed or ‘executed’). In other ways we need a ‘way of seeing’ that goes beyond the visual and integrates the metainterface and its effects. Currently these effects can be seen as three kinds of pollution that are mainly hidden in current interface design:

Data pollution where users cannot see which data is captured, where the data go nor what they are used for leading to crises such as the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal.
Environmental pollution where users cannot see the environmental effects of e.g. cloud networks and metainterfaces such as heavy infrastructures, data centers, carbon pollution etc.
The combination of 1 and 2 also has effects on the territorial development of smart cities, surveillance and terror wars and on the development of a global metainterface industry of cultural and social media platforms, including its politics.

The paper will aim to develop a preliminary theory and analysis of metainterface realism in order to consider how to take further steps towards integrating the effects of data and environmental effects in future metainterfaces.
29 Nov 2018

Event (Conference)

TitleInterface Politics
LocationBAU Centro Universitario de Diseño
Degree of recognitionInternational event


  • Realism, trust, Semiotics, critical theory, Transparency

ID: 137586192