Interface and MalfunctionJune 3, 2008
An interface is typically designed to make the new domain easier for a “user” to comprehend. When this remediation works, the user is fairly oblivious to the crossing-over that is going on. On the contrary, malfunction typically calls attention to the collision of worlds, maintaining itself as burden on presumed purposes.
This sort of dissonance might seem to complicate the credibility of such a thing as “the interface of malfunction.” If there is hesitation…so be it. An experiential and interpretative encounter with this mechanism will give one a better impression of its Fortean flavor! The interface of malfunction exists in that duration of uncertainty that follows an anomalous rift in the linear progression of the everyday. An unexpected occurrence that can be accommodated with provisional explanations or embraced as passageway to new lands. The interface of malfunction is a paranormal mechanism to encourage a dip into the unknown. The unknown may remain aloof, leading the curious onward, or it may be extinguished into a legitimate thing, technique, or new animal… but the process is initially un-known.
The interface of malfunction relies on a rupture in physiological vision and what Norman Bryson refers to as “socialized vision” (in Vision and Visuality) i.e. the mesh of signs that filter/focus one’s point-of-view socioculturally.
Pre-existing knowledge or suspicion of other dimensional worlds, creatures, phenomena factor in to the interfaces of malfunction. These thought-forms operate within vernacular networks of information, the blogosphere notwithstanding. The Sasquatch encounter these days, for example, opens up an interface of malfunction that must contend with the questions of blobsquatchery and answers of blogsquatching. “Blogsquatching,” a term coined by preeminent cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, refers to “the use of web logs to spread information on unknown hairy hominoids such as Sasquatch, Yeti, and Yowie across the internet” (cryptomundo.com).
This age-old collision of experiential and interpretative Sasquatch encounter is amplified through the internet, it remains as always perceptual and conceptual, pulling on individual sensory information and collective forms of speculative interpretation. Malfunction is an Abstract User Interface (AUI).
Speaking of anomalous rifts, age-old collisions, of interface and malfunction and AUIs: The strategic misspelling known as neologism short-circuits known words, leading the meanings into previously neglected peripheries. The collision of prefixes and suffixes offers a short-lived duration of uncertainty wherein malfunction is interfaced and operated on rather succinctly. This perhaps due to the ubiquitous presence of the written word.