The Interface = relation

The interface, Hookway tells us, has always exhibited a ‘a tendency toward a seeming transparency and disappearance’ and this ‘illusory disappearance is an essential aspect of the operation of a user interface, in as much as an operator internalizes the user interface in the course of working through it.’

‘Control upon the interface involves a double moment,’ we are told, ‘where power at once confines and enables.’ We are at once augmented and reduced by our interactions, promised limitless powers but only if we may shrink ourselves to fit a machine-readable vision of the human.

‘[T]he surface refers back to a thing,’ Hookway explains, ‘and expresses the properties of that thing, while the interface refers back to a relation between things and expresses an action.’

— Branden Hookway, Interface (MIT Press, 184pp, £17.95, ISBN 9780262525503), via