Part of The umbrella paradigm

Looking closely at your desktop, you might see something creeping

Susanne Janssen

(NL 2019, 5 min) 

A speculative film about Apple macOS, the software-system known for its instinctive interface-design. Software is only relatable to us via interfaces and metaphors, but it’s something we cannot see or comprehend completely. The designed neutrality of interfaces makes our interaction with devices and software feel natural, while it is all but objective and neutral. Stressing the absurdity of relating computation and software to nature and its creatures, I metaphorized macOS as an organism living behind its interface. Crawling in the Mojave Desert, this creature will let us believe we are the ones in control, but at the same time act to its senses.

As a digital designer, being conscious of the software I use, and the way it shapes outcomes is highly important. The suggested transparency and objectivity in human-computer interaction design, which is driven by politics, can lead to a view on technology that is deterministic. Technology is seen as ‘a greater force’ we have no control over. We often take the design of technology for granted, seeing it as something that is outside of us, as users. Hereby, denying ourselves access to the human-made processes behind our devices. In this project, I used a design-led research approach to amplify the experience of software as something uncontrollable, like a force of nature.


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