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Faces, interfaces, screens: Relational ontologies of framing, attention and distraction

Richardson, I. (2010) Faces, interfaces, screens: Relational ontologies of framing, attention and distraction. Transformations: Journal of Media and Culture (18).

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This paper considers the prevalence of screens in everyday life – from the televisual and cinematic to the many large and small screens encountered in both domestic and public spaces – and suggests that each of these encounters has its own corporeal and interfacial modality. More specifically, I will argue that at a perceptual and corporeal level we often engage with media screens by way of various metaphors of “framing,” and that there is an historical and ontological affinity between faces, windows, frames and screens. In the context of contemporary screens, I will explore the aptness of these associations, and the problematic assumption that the window and frame are perceptually analogous to either the televisual, computer or mobile interface. That is, while it is possible to describe the broad-spectrum nature of screens in terms of their consonance with the frontal or facial ontology of the window and the frame, such an interpretation glosses over the complex medium specificities pertaining to smaller and portable devices, which challenge many of the sedimented tropes surrounding the body-screen relation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: Central Queensland University. Editorial Committee of Transformations Journal
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