Introduction Window Painting Photograph Film Screen Conclusion
(Image 8) ‘Abstract Browsing’ by Rafael Roozendaal, 2016, Steve Turner, Los Angeles
intro [ Screens have become objects we see in our daily experiences. Screens can be found anywhere now. From fixed locations like exterior of buildings, sport stadiums and train stations, to mobile objects like our phones, watches and laptops. The physical frame of the screen differs a lot, but so does its content with responsive design, generating multiple digital windows inside the physical frame of the screen. Not only has the physical space of the frame changed, so has the space inside the frame.]
perspective [ The computer interface is comparable with the painting frame, it defines the flow of information between the artwork and the viewer, but is in itself empty. That is like the window, without light, the computer screen without electricity, has no content. The frame of a computer interface becomes nothing but just the frame. Also in the space of the screen interface, perspective has dissapeared. An aspect that is always present in a window. Computer screens have created a different visual system inside the window. They show information, data, images, texts and even more windows. The digital display and its interfaces do not show perspective, as we are used seeing and how the Renaissance has used, but we see a different kind of perspective. One that works in overlapping layers on top of each other.]

interfaces [ The work of Rafael Roozendaal named “Abstract Browsing” is a good example of the structures and layers of frames in websites. Abstract Browsing shows the complex multiple frames and boxes within a web browser’s interface. Roozendaal created a plugin that can change your web browsing into a work of art. The abstraction of the websites show the big amount of frames within frames. The complex structure and design create a hierarchy of organisation. Every frame has frames within. The outside frames become categories for what is inside. They are frames within frames.]

“As computer “users”, we spend hours immobile in front of the flat, multicapable, framed virtual space of the computer screen. The frame becomes the threshold - the liminal site - of tensions between the immobility of a spectator/viewer/user and the mobility of seen through the mediated “windows” of film, television and computer screens. But the frame also separates the materiality of spectatorial space from the virtual immateriality spaces seen within its boudaries.” - Anne Friedberg 1
interaction [ The immaterial space and movement discussed in the chapter of film appears also in the screen. It is a digital representation of space on a flat surface. The only difference is that the interaction with the screen is not only looking at a moving image, like film, but the screen actually reacts to the interaction of the user. We use it to scroll or zoom in and out. These actions allow the frame of the screen to be the window we look through, while at the same time we know what is outside of the frame. As revealed by Google Maps one zooms in to specify on an area, leaving the rest ‘outside’ of the frame. When scrolling, the same thing happens to a page, it dissapears up or down the frame. The content reacts as if it would be physical, but with a frame around it.]
material design [ shows how Google uses their visual language to create design that shows the overlapping layers and its interaction. It is called material design. They develop a single underlying system that allows for a unified experience across platforms and device sizes.2 It makes use of a theory of space and motion and its research is about the tactile reality, inspired by the study of paper and ink. It looks at the fundamentals of light, surface, and movement in the physical world, and uses it on the digital screen. Without breaking the rules of physics. We see here a system that creates the illusion of realistic material, movement, light and space. This is comparable with Alberti’s window to create the illusion of realistic perspective.]

virtual reality [ So not only looks the content realistic and is it functional with its user interface, content also adapts to its frame. But while replicating simulations of physicality in the virtual world, we also try to get rid of the frame. This is recognizable with virtual reality. There’s an interresting question concerning virtual reality in relation to the frame. With the use of virtual reality the frame is dissapearing. It seems to look a lot like what happened with the painting frame. We want to see the digital environment around us, as if there’s no frame. It seems that the goal of virtual reality is realisitc (fake) perspective, but at the same time there is a need for an user interface to navigate through the virtual world. Designers are trying to force 2D solutions into a 3D space3, but without the organisation and order that a frame provides, I’m curious how designers will navigate through the virtual space. How will the user be designed and used in a virtual 360° world? Does the frame need to be reinvented again? It calls for questions and answers.]

conclusion [ The digital space of the screen uses the same immaterial space and movement as the film. The screen is a flat surface that shows virtual images and interfaces that create fake ‘realistic’ depth. Besides that the screen has multiple overlapping windows that ask for our attention and work as frames in frames. The frame of a screen has a big role in navigating while interacting with the user interfaces.]
1 The virtual window from Alberti to Microsoft, Anne Friedberg

2Google Design,

3 Immersive Design,