"The Digital Interface as Window and Mirror"
Jay David Bolter
Wesley Professor of New Media, Georgia Institute of Technology

Author of Remediation
Since the creation of the GUI (graphical user interface) in the 1970s, digital designers have usually operated under the assumption that the computer interface should be transparent: a window onto a world of information. The computer window is such a compelling design because it relies on the aesthetic (and epistemological) principle of transparency that has been part of our culture for centuries. Hundreds of years of painting, printing, and photography have prepared us to look through the new windows that the computer offers. Contemporary digital art, however, now offers an important alternative: the reflective interface. A productive tension between these two ways of looking and knowing helps to characterize digital technology for our culture today.