Interface Politics Conference
Together with Jorge Luis Marzo, Tere Badía and myself, we organized the Interface Politics Conference that took place in Barcelona, 27, 28 & 29 – April 2016. Here is the schedule of the whole conference, and here the CFP:
The Interface Politics Conference is about reflecting on the role and influence of interfaces within the universe of tools from the contemporary production system. How are the imaginaries related to creativity, politics, labour, economics and culture configured and created in the context of a universalised system of interfaces that is based on the promise of being natural, transparent, simple and accessible? What answers and actions can be articulated from design practices that aim to question the utopias arising from a form of communication that is increasingly subject to a culture of control? How can alliances be established between design, the field of critical thinking and action, and industrial and institutional narratives linked to technological theologies?
This initiative is being presented as a meeting forum for gathering, discussing and disseminating multiple approaches, experiences and practices from the fields of design, political philosophy, arts, activism and communication studies from academic and non-academic perspectives.
This conference is a collaborative initiative from three institutions:
- GREDITS (Design and Social Transformation Research Group) (from Bau, Design College of Barcelona), which seeks to promote new perspectives, reflections and practices within the field of design and creation.
- IMAGIT/BCN: European consortium for multidisciplinary research funded by the EU’s Creative Europe programme, of which HANGAR(Production and Research Centre for Visual Arts in Barcelona) is a member. The aim of the Barcelona programme is to produce practical research into the current situation with regard to the underlying aesthetics, mechanics and policies of interfaces.
- The MEDIACCIONS Research Group from the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).
The conference is also supported by the following research groups:
The overall objective of the conference is to provide participants with the opportunity to discuss a wide range of ideas, experiences and practices related to the role and configuration of interfaces in terms of their design and responsibility to the communication field. Likewise, the conference seeks to build a network of local, national and international thinkers and creators from various fields and contexts, which will drive new critical perspectives when considering and shaping contemporary communications.
- To respond to the apparent neutrality of machines and the impact that this false neutrality has on production of a social nature.
- To deconstruct the narrative of interfaces as devices for ‘work performance’, also within the field of design.
- To demonstrate the tension in the relationships between functional industrial needs (the dictatorship of social sciences over design tools) and the social feedback provoked by their dissemination; a tension that ultimately transforms the very interfaces themselves, either by forcing changes or by protecting them from change.
- To question the idea that the machines we have are ‘the best we can currently create’.
- To explore the interpretative paths of the interface in accordance with the non-mechanistic criteria arising from the current technologicalisation of cultural imaginaries.
- To analyse how current interfaces are vehicles for the aestheticisation of contemporary political economics and human relationships.
- To analyse alternatives to the interfaces currently used in contemporary design teaching methods.
- To analyse the effects that current standardised interfaces have on shaping social order.
- To reflect from the practice and materiality of design on the paradoxes of technological solutions and interface effects, highlighting the ideological component of the decisions present in interfaces, following on from the work started by the ‘Interface Manifesto’ project.