In the last pages of my book Cultura Snack (La Marca, 2020) I introduced a hypothesis: the liquid metaphor, which was so successful since the publication of Liquid Modernity (Bauman, 1999), is no longer the best one when it comes to describe contemporary social life and culture. Let’s recap: Bauman was interested in the passage from solid to liquid society, a world where “the greatest concern of our social and individual life is how to prevent things from becoming fixed, that they are so solid that they cannot change in the future . We do not believe that there are…


My friends know that I am becoming less and less comfortable in traditional scientific writing. More than ‘uncomfortable’, I feel dissatisfied: the academic system, by focusing on scientific articles and books, does not value the production of creative texts, in innovative formats and that really make the reader reflect beyond the words. Although I am not going to stop publishing scientific texts in the usual channels, I am interested in exploring new writing styles and publishing formats. The Laws of the Interface (Gedisa, 2018) was a first step in that direction: it is a volume full of stories and anecdotes…


Spanish version: Nuevas interfaces para un mundo postpandemia

Most of the interfaces in which we participate are showing their obsolescence and inability to adapt to the brutal transformation caused by the COVID-19. If, as I wrote in The Laws of the Interface (2018), an interface is a network of human, institutional and technological actors that maintains a series of relationships, then it is becoming more than clear that these networks barely withstand the onslaught of an implacable reality . …


Spanish version: Coronavirus, epidemias e interfaces
Portuguese version: Coronavírus, Epidemias e Interfaces

A few days ago a colleague asked me to write something about the coronavirus and the interfaces. I do not like to abuse the term but since I consider that the concept of /interface/ can be useful, I decided to share these reflections from that perspective of analysis.

First, we must start from the definition of /interface/ that I proposed in The Laws of the Interface and other texts: the interface is a “network of human, institutional and technological actors that are interconnected and maintain different types of…


Spanish version: En busca del relato perdido

The narrative as a form of knowledge

Narrative is one of the main ways we have to interpret the world around us. According to Jerome Bruner (1996, 2003) there are two forms of cognitive functioning, the paradigmatic and the narrative. The paradigmatic form is based on logical-scientific argumentation, while the narrative is based on the strength of the stories.

Faced with any event, Homo sapiens builds a narrative to understand it. The narrative allows to introduce an order into the surrounding chaos, see who are the actors of the story, show their action programs, etc. …


What is a designer? How many professional profiles exist within the world of design? Let’s check Wikipedia: clothing and textile designer, fashion designer, jewelry designer, landscape designer, graphic designer, industrial designer, interior designer, multimedia designer, video game designer, audiovisual designer… We could also add interaction designer, web designer, mobile application designer and, last but not least, the designer of interfaces. It seems that almost all professions fall into the field of design.

The interface designer

If the designer seems to be a transversal and omnipresent figure, What is an interface designer? A professional who sketches interactive elements and action sequences on paper? Or…


Batman versus Joker

The interface is the battlefield of a conflict where the strategy of the designer and the tactics of the users face each other. The exchanges between users and designers are never peaceful (Second and Fifth Law). How designers think an artifact should be used rarely coincides with the users’ actual interpretations and uses. This dialectic can be found throughout the socio-technological network.

From the perspective of The Laws of the Interface, the role played by users can never be underestimated. If, as Michel De Certeau argues in L’invention du quotidian (1990), tactics are the resource of the weak to counteract…


Once upon a time… Historical narratives are usually presented as a linear succession of events. Henry VII (1485–1509) was followed by Henry VIII (1509–1547), Edward VI (1547- 1553) and Lady Jane Grey, who only governed for nine days in 1553. In the same way, the version 1.0 of Photoshop (1990) was followed by 2.0 (1991), 2.5 (1992) and 3.0 (1994), which was perhaps the most revolutionary of all because it incorporated layers. Applying linear models to evolutionary processes ends up generating mythical discourses impregnated with an ideological faith in the future. The linear series like 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, etc. only…


If interfaces do form part of an ecosystem and ‘think each other’ (Third Law), they also ‘see each other’ and, in some cases, they may activate mimetic processes. In biology, mimicry occurs when a species evolves and shares common perceived characteristics with other animals and plants or with the natural objects it lives among. For many biological species mimicry should be considered a strategy for survival. One of the most important forms of visual mimicry is camouflage. For many interfaces mimicry is also an adaptation strategy that takes the form of simulation.

The Streamlined Style

During the 1920s and 1930s the studies of…


Like biological ones, technological species and their interfaces evolve (Fourth Law). In less than a century the aircraft evolved from the Wright brothers’ first models into supersonic invisible combat arrows or wide-bodied airplanes that carry hundreds of passengers. However, many components of the Wright’s Flyer I are still present in large cargo aircraft as well as fighter jets. The same may be said of other technologies and interfaces. This leads us to a question: Do interfaces become extinct?

Story of two Bibles

Two Bibles are displayed in the Library of Congress (Washington, DC): the manuscript of the Giant Bible of Mainz and the first…

Carlos A. Scolari

UPF researcher: interfaces, digital media, transmedia & media ecology/evolution + TEDx + PI of H2020 @Trans_literacy + blogger: hipermediaciones.com @cscolari

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store