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On the Politics of Chrono-Design: Capture, Time and the Interface


New CIM publication: Dieter, Michael, and David Gauthier. “On the Politics of Chrono-Design: Capture, Time and the Interface.” Theory, Culture & Society, January 29, 2019, 026327641881905.

This article makes a contribution to interface criticism through the notion of chrono-design: the deliberate shaping of experiences of temporality and time through contemporary software techniques and digital technologies. This notion is articulated through discussions of network optimisation, user experience design, behavioural tracking, Hansen’s work on 21st-century media and Hayles’ framework of cognitive assemblages. In particular, the argument considers how contemporary user interfaces complicate conventional notions of the rational, self-reflexive subject by operating beyond consciousness at vast environmental dimensions and accelerated micro-temporal speeds. These conditions, we argue, provide opportunities for new forms of behavioural suspense and captivation best exemplified through the figure of the trap. The politics and aesthetics of captivation, accordingly, should be considered as central to any expanded ecology of cognition. The article then concludes with a short demonstration of experimental uses of chrono-design methods applied critically to political economies of user tracking and data capture as a prompt for further interdisciplinary applied research in this domain.