Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Personalized Sameness

I thought that the Manovich's representation of the desktop as a battlefield of dualities was very apt. I was especially intrigued by the uniqueness vs. standardization aspect of the comparisons. As different as we might want to make our desktops, it will always have the same functions as any other desktop. So although it is virtually unlimited, functionally it is confined. In this sense, it reminded me of hypertext, or rather manifestations of hypertext (Patchwork Girl for example), since although hypertext is limitless and ever changing, it is pre-coded and therefore confined.

I think that this delusion of uniqueness reflects us as individuals. We all look different and, “of course,” we are all unique. And yet, on the microscopic level, we are all the same. Our DNA is basically in the same pattern and our internal organs function in the same way. So although we are “different”, we are very much “the same.”

I also thought about the deceptive nature of desktops. You can make certain files hidden and that way you won’t be able to “see” them. It presents an interesting question about being present without occupying space. It is also possible to change the pictures of the icons on your desktop too so you can make a folder look like a photo or vice versa. I think these tie back to the idea that although you are free to edit and personalize the shell, the visual, the context and/or the code cannot be changed by the users.

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