Interview with Etienne Mineur

October 17, 2013 | By Culture & Education (San Francisco)

Etienne Mineur is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Index+ (1992), Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the design studio Incandescence, Co-Founder and Creative Director of les éditions volumiques (2009). Etienne Mineur is Professor at ENSADENSCI in Paris, and at HEAD in Geneva. He is an AGI Member since 2000.

Etienne Mineur will participate in the Futures of the Book event in San Francisco (October 22 - October 26, 2013) and will intervene at the Books in Browsers summit on Thursday, October 24th, 2013. Mineur will also participate in the Books in Browsers hackday, on Saturday, October 22, 2013 at swissnex San Francisco.

Books in Browsers is a small summit for the new generation of internet publishing companies, focusing on developers and designers who are building and launching tools for online storytelling, expression, and art. Books in Browsers 2013, #bib13, will be held Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25 at the Internet Archive in San Francisco; a hackfest will be held on Saturday Oct 26, at swissnex San Francisco (@swissnexsf) on Montgomery Street downtown.

In your opinion, how do the digital technologies transform our access to knowledge ?
Etienne Mineur: I believe that the word “access” is indeed the most important here, since we can access easily and for free (for the most part) a tremendous amount of knowledge. The ease and rapidity of the process are specifically what is new. Surprisingly, the problem no longer is the access to knowledge, but the excess of information (the “infobesity”). The main question is now to learn how to browse and find your way in this ocean of knowledge. 
Most importantly, the Open Source movement has made knowledge widely accessible in all of its dimensions.
To what extent would you say that your work as an author or artist has been impacted by the digital technologies?
EM: As a designer, I am strongly linked (but still critical in the meantime) to the technologies of the time I live in. I create, invent, produce…with the tools that are available. Above all, I try to create new usages that are adapted to these technologies. For instance, designers (but also engineers, artists, authors, etc.) have cheerfully adopted the latest tablets; in order to divert this new object, to improve it, to make it amusing and to create new specific functions and services for it. It is designers’ duty to find specific, responsible and accurate usages, based on new technologies.
How would you define the concept of "interactivity" in the spectrum the digital technologies of the image ?
EM: We could say that an interactive image is the result of a complex dialogue between an input interface (a mouse, a joystick, a microphone, etc.) and an output interface (a screen), managed by a calculator (a computer, a video game device, a telephone). 
The greatest examples of interactive images can be found in the history of video games. Video game designers have always worried about the image more than any thing else, which has remained their favourite medium to communicate (the “video” in “video games”).
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