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New Perspectives On GUI

One role of the artist is to show the audience something familiar in a new light... Marcel Duchamp did this by putting things like snow shovels, bottle racks, and urinals on pedestals in art galleries. John Cage did this by composing pieces of music which required an audience listen to the sounds of silence (and itself) in an auditorium for four minutes. While few consumers today hang urinals on their walls or buy CD's with no music on them, the Art that they do purchase en-masse is influenced by the work of cutting edge artists--who constantly reinvent and reinterpret their world. As more and more of us work in a world where people communicate through computer interfaces, we will need someone to help recreate that work-environment from time to time, lest it become so predictable that our quality of work (productivity, in buzz-terms) begins to wane. The visual artist will be an ideal contributor to this ongoing re-creation and re-thinking of existing visual interfaces.

For an idea of what I mean about re-thinking the interface, consider Brenda Laurel's book entitled Computers as Theatre, which starts by discarding most of our assumptions about human-computer interaction and replacing them with concepts and ideas borrowed from the theatre.[10] Will HCI professionals buy this? I haven't seen anyone adopt it outright, but with the increasing development in multimedia and virtual reality, Laurel's viewpoint presented here could be a big influence on the developers. They might even adopt a new...


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sean dreilinger

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