What if the icons and metaphors we use to interface with our machines were based on gardening instead of office work?
When we interface with computers, we are surrounded by images of folders, bins, and paper clips, and we are constantly highlighting, cutting, and pasting. These metaphors give us entry points for understanding and interacting with computational machines, but they also shape these interactions and understandings in particular ways, and the meaning of these metaphors is contingent on our own experiences with office culture. This speculative interface replaces metaphors drawn from offices with metaphors drawn from gardens. Which metaphors are familiar and which are strange?
"Unless we pause from time to time to see how these metaphors work to create boundaries, and how they shift into new media, they will control us without our knowledge. Or permission." - Rob Swigart (1990, p. 135), Software Developer and Novelist