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Final Activity Report Summary - INTERFACES IN MEDIA (Developing innovative human-computer interfaces for interactive media art, edutainment and mobile communications)

The themes elaborated at the Interface Cultures Department at the University of Art and Industrial Design at Linz, Austria in relation to interactive technologies include Interactive Environments, Interactive Art, game design, Virtual Reality environments, Media Art, Human-Computer-Interaction research and interaction design. One major aim is to develop innovative interfaces that harness new interface technologies and to investigate the cultural and social possibilities of implementing them. The term "interface" is omnipresent nowadays. Basically, it describes an intersection or linkage between different computer systems that makes use of hardware components and software programs to enable the exchange and transmission of digital information via communications protocols. However, an interface also describes the hook-up between human and machine, whereby the human qua user undertakes interaction as a means of operating and influencing the software and hardware components of a digital system. An interface thus enables human beings to communicate with digital technologies as well as to generate, receive and exchange data. Examples of interfaces in very widespread use are the mouse-keyboard interface and graphical user interfaces (i.e. desktop metaphors). In recent years, though, we have witnessed rapid developments in the direction of more intuitive and more seamless interface designs; the fields of research that have emerged include intelligent environments, tangible user interfaces, voice-driven interaction, gesture-based interaction, robotic interfaces, natural interfaces and artistic and metaphoric interfaces.

Artists in the field of interactive art have been conducting research on human-machine interaction for a number of years now. By means of artistic, intuitive, conceptual, social and critical forms of interaction design, they have shown how digital processes can become essential elements of the artistic process.

It is precisely this combination of technical know-how, interdisciplinary research and a creative artistic-scientific approach to a task that makes it possible to develop new, creative interfaces that engender progressive and innovative artistic-creative applications for media art, media design, media research and communication.

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