So this is just a guess… I feel like Hookway and Galloway’s definitions of the interface are not necessarily similar or different but instead, they are consubstantial of one another—we need them both to understand the interface.
I justify this in two moments in the text:
Hookway “If the surface may be seen as the culmination, expression, or concealment of a thing, and so in varying ways the means by which a thing may be made available for theorization or some form of reading, then the interface may likewise be seen as the culmination, expression, or concealment of an active relation between things”(14).
Galloway: “Ending in this way we might return to our mantra, that the interface is a medium that does not mediate. It is unworkable. The difficulty, however, lies not in this dilemma but in the fact that the interface never admits it. It is true that it is false” (53-4).
It feels like as you read Hookway this emphasis on mediation feels like the interface has a lot of agency in terms of constructing the possibilities of interactions. I feel like before reading Galloway I gave the interface too much power and inscribed it with a sense of determinism in terms of human action. However, the ambiguity inherent within Hookway’s quote gives the reader the sense that the interface is making things possible–however his wording in the statement “active relation between things” makes me feel like there can be relations prior to an itnerfaces ability to construct the possibilities of that interaction—in fact, Galloway makes me feel that sometimes the interface may get in the way of an active relation and make it messy, but convince us that it’s making things easier, until we realize that our active relations will only be possible if we squeeze them within the constraints of the interface—whatever that is.
One thought on “Interface”
Your post really helps me get a grasp on what Galloway is doing. I was actually far more comfortable with Hookway’s text as I read this week, especially as it built on ideas I was already familiar with; whereas with Galloway’s I felt like I was often floundering, being unfamiliar with many of his examples and less sure about what he was trying to accomplish.
Galloway’s reading of the interface seemed, as you note here, to be significantly less optimistic throughout, and especially in the end. In fact, it was so much so that I wondered if perhaps his pessimism and its culmination in the “whatever” in the end was shutting down conversation? That was the question I was ultimately left with in reading Galloway, and even wrote in the margin beside the final paragraph. I still don’t quite know what to do with the way Interface Effect leaves us.