Pall Thayer wrote:
> Hi Damian, thanks for the comments. I won't ignore because these are
> ideas I'm actively working on promoting and that I feel quite strongly
> about. I've met with quite a bit of animosity in discussing the ideas
> with others and I think it's primarily based on a misunderstanding of my
> intentions which is why I welcome any and all comments and discussion.
i don't know if i've misunderstood your intentions, but i do think you're confusing the medium and/or the process and/or the resulting art object.
> First of all, I'm not by any means claiming that coded artwork can't be
> understood or appreciated without regarding the code. I am suggesting
> that there's another level of understanding to be found within the code.
understanding of what?
i don't believe that you can better understand a program's /runningness/ (what it feels like to engage with the program) by examining its code. quite the opposite. i write my own software to make music, and one of the most interesting things about doing this is that often my own software reveals to me things that i didn't even know were there to be found. and after these new possibilities have presented themselves, there's no way i can point to any part of the code and say, this bit happens here. it's the whole system i'm interacting with, not particular parts.
may i suggest some reading: http://mitpress.mit.edu/book-home.tcl?isbn=0262521121
> The code provides a very clear window into the
> artist's conceptual and aesthetic intentions.
no it doesn't. it provides a very clear window into their technical / engineering skills and abilities. like i said above, the aesthetic outcomes don't have a 1-1 relationship with the code. if i don't even know what new aesthetic/creative/phenomenological avenues my code is going to open up when i write it, how can anyone else expect to understand my intentions by reading it?
> Also, if we think about
> preservation, revealing the code provides for a means of preservation
> that would allow galleries and museums to "re-interpret" the work on
> future hardware.
if you were an artist working on an iron sculpture would you leave a list of instructions around to allow galleries and museums to 're-interpret' your sculpture using future metals? i don't think such 're-interpretation' is really possible without making new artwork. if you run the same code on different (future) hardware, i expect you'll end up with a different artwork. visual-based code written for a Commodore 64 plugged into a colour TV won't /feel/ the same when you run it on a desktop PC plugged into a plasma monitor, and so it will be a different artwork.
> Regarding "the medium" I have a question for you. Why are welding and
> painting media and not coding? If runningness (I like that term!) is the
> medium of coded art then how can welding be the medium of an iron
> sculpture? To me, runningness refers to what a piece does whereas
> welding refers to how something is created. I see a contradiction there.
my point was the opposite, actually. the process of welding is to an iron sculpture, as the act of painting is to the final painting you hang on the wall, as the act of coding is to the resultant software art. iron is the medium in the first, painting is the medium in the second, software/'runningness' is the medium in the third.
> The statement you refer to is not intended to ignore the earlier history
> of coded art. It simply serves as a convenient means of pointing to a
> distinct event, that most people in this field are familiar with, where
> code in art was specifically discussed and analyzed. However, I think it
> should have been the start of something rather than the start and
> finish, which is what seems to have happened.
perhaps there was nothing to discuss?
i just don't think the code is interesting from anything other than an engineering perspective; and there's nothing intrinsically special about software engineering that makes it so fundamentally different from mechanical engineering or any other kind of engineering used for artistic purposes.
damian stewart | +351 967 797 263 | email@example.com
frey | live art with machines | http://www.frey.co.nz