Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Interface - Friday 11am Section

There were a couple of parts within the Manovich reading for this week that were of particular interest to me. One of these sections begins on page 83 where Lev Manovich talks about how the cinematic interface is transforming into a cultural interface via video games. He starts this discussion by talking about the “cinematic sequences” within games. I find this really interesting because he’s writing this before the truly cinematic games have even been made. Games today have far more elaborate, realistic, and scripted cinematic sequences. I would even extend his argument to say that there is an impending blend between the video game and the traditional movie. In the past two years, I’ve played games like Dead Space and GTA IV that have left me feeling like I starred in a movie of my own. GTA IV even had a movie sized budget of $100 million.

I also found it fascinating how he described the “imprisonment of the body” in the section beginning on page 103. It’s an interesting thought because interfaces are freeing the mind while at the same time imprisoning the body. However, I’m not sure I fully understand this argument. I’m not quite sure how the body is more imprisoned now than it was when cinema or even printed text came around. I see a lot of parallels between the immobilization of the body to interact with a movie or a book and interacting with a HCI. The idea of a chip that places a virtual screen on our retina sounds incredibly liberating. Manovich describes this scenario as us merely “carrying our prisons with us.” This confuses me. Is the prison cyberspace? I interpreted this prison as being a physical one that we had to enter if we wanted to interact with a modern HCI.

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