The Virtual Window Interactive
Design by Erik Loyer
This project is a translation/extension/conversion of ideas and arguments from my book, The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2006). The book was written and thought in the midst of the hyperspeed of technological change. I was writing about the screen on a screen; I was writing a book about windows, their virtual substitutes, and the fractured multiplicity of the multiple "windowed" screen; I was writing while looking into a screen fractured into many windows - overlapping and simultaneous applications, some hermetically-sealed, some wired to the outside. Because the computer screen is both a "page" and a "window," at once opaque and transparent, it commands a new posture for the practice of writing and reading - one that requires looking into the page as if it is the frame of a window. I knew that I would need to translate the book to an environment that would allow me link its concepts with its form. The Virtual Window Interactive is the book's digital "Other." It forms a tangent to the matrix of concepts in the book while supplying vivid examples of the still and moving images that have - in the span of centuries - filled the apertures of our windows, frames, and screens.
The ideas for The Virtual Window Interactive were formed in a series of meetings with colleagues invited to "think tank" the project (Anne Balsamo, Perry Hoberman, Steve Anderson) and later in weekly meetings with designer/programmer Erik Loyer and consultant/colleague Steve Anderson. The Virtual Window Interactive was a fully collaborative venture - it would not have taken the form that it has taken without Erik Loyer's skilled sensibility as designer/programmer.