Aesthetics of Remix

Networked Interactive Objects and Interface Design

Authored by: Jonah Brucker-Cohen

The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415716253
eBook ISBN: 9781315879994
Adobe ISBN: 9781134748747


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The construction and design of a successful interactive object and interface requires the seamless integration of several different physical and experiential factors. In particular, the aesthetics of interaction, such as the location, physical proximity, connected data streams, and mindset of the user all contribute to the overall quality of their experience. In interactive media design, there is great attention and detail towards emphasizing the surrounding elements and contexts of the interaction. A remix occurs in digital media when the physicality of the real world is coupled with the intangible nature of online or digital worlds. When a physical input or output is connected to these virtual systems, a clear connection is made between a user and the controls in which they are engaged at the interface level. A seemingly obvious example of this relationship in real life is the way in which our typical interactions with computers is limited due to the tools we are given to interact with them, such as the mouse and keyboard. In Affective Computing, Picard writes about the advantage of being “not yet flesh and bone,” that computers “perceive their world through cameras, microphones, keyboards, mice, and other sensors. These are their eyes, ears, hands, and skin . . . However, machines need not be limited to human-like sensors.” 1 She goes on to say that the computer itself has the ability to augment its sensory attention beyond what humans can perceive so much that eventually the computer could surpass our sensory abilities and “might recognize emotions and other states that humans would not ordinarily recognize.” 2 This form of sensory recognition outside of the interface paradigm relates back to the concept of an aesthetically determined interaction with computers and other electronic devices. Interaction is based on the collective input of elements such as the psychological state of the user, the location of the interaction, the interface developed for interaction, or the surrounding factors of the environment where the interaction takes place, such as through a touch screen on a mobile device or another form of tactile physical interface.

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