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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathAesthetics/Communication

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technical interfaces enable different systems to be linked. It is a matter thereby of reducing spatio-temporal distances and of optimizing the response time and flexibility of the connection. The resultant re-definition of the positions adopted by both systems—subject and machine—influences the communication process. On the one hand, the subject is no longer merely an operator controlling a tool; on the other hand, the machine undergoes constant growth in regard to the independence of its functioning—in other words, it is no longer a ‹simple› tool in the traditional sense.

This gradual assimilation of the position and weighting in the humanmachine communication process [15] is clearly evident in the «Interface Model» of William Bricken. [16] With it he attempts to minimize the distance between the systems (A) and (B) and at the same time to demonstrate the reciprocal influence exercised on the agents by the interaction processes. This means that every transmission of information influences and defines the linked systems. In «Interface Model 4» Bricken introduces a further factor: the context. According to Bricken the interface boundary


represents the knowledge of the interaction environment on the part of the interacting agents. On being introduced into the interaction process, the parameter of context becomes an influencing factor in the communication process. Context is a component of the interaction between two systems in the measure which they share this parameter, but can be altered in the course of the process.

Context and environment

The position of Niklas Luhmann must be recalled to mind in regard to the factors of context/environment. System theory abandoned the idea of a totality constituted of parts in order to introduce the explicit reference to the environment. Luhmann goes one step further by making the structures and processes of a system dependent on their relationships to a specific environment, indicating that these structures and processes are comprehensible only in relation to this environment. This mutual dependence declares that one cannot design or create an interactive system in isolated form, since as a completed element it would a

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