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January 24, 2007

IMD Forum


Anne Friedberg

Speaker: Anne Friedberg :: Time: Wednesday, January 24, 6-8pm :: Location: USC's Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts (RZC), Room 201 Zemeckis Media Lab (ZML). Title: The Virtual Window and it's Interactive Other: the Page and the Window; the Book and the Screen:

The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft is a book about windows and screens and frames and the virtual and the metaphors that shape our everyday access to the world around us. In his 1435 treatise on painting and perspective, De Pictura, Leon Battista Alberti famously instructed the painter to “regard” the rectangular frame of the painting as an open window (aperta finestra). Alberti’s Renaissance metaphor of the window has haunted centuries of subsequent thinking about the humanist subject of perspective, and has remained a defining concept for theories of painting, architecture, and moving image media. Unlike the metaphor of the window as a frame for perspectival view, the metaphor of the window in computer software relies on a

different set of assumptions about the viewer and the view that the window provides. An early component of the graphical user interface, the computer “window” did not refer to the full expanse of the computer screen, but rather to a subset of its screen surface: an inset screen within the screen of the computer, one of many nested on its “desktop.” The computer “window” shifts its metaphoric hold from the singular frame of perspective, to the multiplicity of windows within windows, frames within frames, screens within screens.

The Virtual Window Interactive is a translation / extension / conversion of ideas and arguments found in the book. Because the computer screen is both a “page” and a “window,” at once opaque and transparent, it commands a new posture for the practice of writing and reading—one that requires looking into the page as if it is the frame of a window. The Virtual Window Interactive forms a tangent to the matrix of concepts in the book while supplying vivid examples of the still and moving images that have—in the span of centuries-- filled the apertures of our windows, frames, and screens.

Anne's Wikipedia bio is here. [posted by sfisher on USC Interactive Media Division blog]

Posted by jo at January 24, 2007 02:43 PM