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"What Kind of Interaction?" Interview by Domenico Quaranta.
Cluster. On Innovation, no. 3 (Interaction Design), Summer 2004, pp. 30 – 33.


Domenico Quaranta: With interaction design, computer becomes an interface between man and other things. In your opinion, how will our relationship with the world changes with the mediation, even if moderate, of this sort of ‘computable veil’?

Lev Manovich: I think we are entering a new and important stage – you can describe it using already well-established terms such as “ubiquitous computing,” or maybe new terms will become necessary. The bottom line is that computation, telecommunication and interface are slowly being incorporated into a variety of objects and spaces, rather than being confined to very particular types of objects such as desktop computer or a telephone.

So I think that slowly our ages-old concept of an object as something “dead” and “passive” will change, as more and more objects will become “smart.” So one day traditional “dump” objects may become an exception rather than the norm. In the same manner, if today dynamic screens constitute a small percentage of any surfaces in any space, one day every surface may potentially every surface may function as screen connected to networks.

This future is closer than you may think. Nissan design studio located here in San Diego has already developed a prototype car shown in 2004 Detroit car show in which the whole ceiling of the car interior functioned as a screen. And already last year (2003), Gillette announced its plan to purchase 500 million RFID tags to place its products.

We appear to live in an interesting period in which science fiction has caught up with the present. We no longer have to travel to distant planets in search of new alien civilizations, because our own planet is rapidly turning into one.

2004  Interview