Kitchen Table Coders Presents: Learn to Code From an Artist Workshop

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Kitchen Table Coders Panel Discussion from Rhizome on Vimeo.

Last Friday, Rhizome hosted a panel discussion on code literacy in the arts including Amit Pitaru of Kitchen Table Coders; Vanessa Hurst of Girl Develop It and Developers for Good; Jer Thorpe, artist and educator; Sonali Sridhar of Hacker School; and moderated by Douglas Rushkoff, educator and author of Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age.

Kitchen Table Coders workshops in the New Museum Theater

Following the panel, Rhizome hosted five Kitchen Table Coders-style workshops Saturday afternoon in the New Museum Theater. Twenty-five eager coding novices came to get a crash course in Processing with some of New York City's most talented programmers; Amit Pitaru, t3db0t, David Nolen, Jer Thorp and Rob Seward. The Kitchen Table Coders host intimate workshops around a kitchen table in their Brooklyn studio on any topic the attendees choose. 

Jer Throp introducing Processing to his students

Participants learned the basics in Processing, an open source programming language for visual art.

t3db0t demonstrating Arduino

More advanced students had the opportunity to sit down with t3db0t to take their Processing skills to the next level with Arduino to create interactive electronic objects.

Thanks again to all the panelists, Vanessa Hurst (Developers for Good), Sonali Sridhar (HackerSchool), Amit Pitaru (Kitchen Table Coders) and Jer Throp (NYTimes and ITP), and our moderator codevangelist Douglas Rushkoff for a stimulating conversation about code literacy. And big thanks to Nick Hasty, Director of Technology for Rhizome, who was instrumental in making this event happen. I look forward to organizing more code and hacker workshops in the future!

 

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Hidden Information: The Work of Jim Sanborn

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 Jim Sanborn's cryptographic sculptures, pieces on atomic energy, and large-scale projections might already seem familiar. Installed in front of the CIA headquarters, the ciphers in his sculpture Kryptos have puzzled many a code-cracker (three out of four of the coded sections have been solved), and he has been the subject of several museum shows. The artist answered a few questions we had on his work via email:     

There's often something hidden in plain sight in your work.  In public installations like Kryptos (at the CIA plaza) and A Comma, A in Houston, among others (I'm thinking also of the Covert Obsolescence andArcheotranscription pieces), it's letters/word/code.  How does written communication affect your work?  Is there a background story that drives these pieces?

Prior to the Kryptos commission my work documented hidden or invisible natural forces, Earth’s magnetic field etc. For the Kryptos piece and for the 20 years since, the hidden forces/content in text and language have taken over.

For most of my life both of my parents worked at the Library of Congress, My father as the Director of Exhibitions and my mother as a photo researcher, this privileged access to the historic record was tremendously enabling. The texts I chose for my public projects were heavily researched at the L.C. and in these works in particular the International, Classical, and Native American texts were used to encourage collaboration among cultures to fully decipher. Like Kryptos, the other public works are designed to exude their information slowly.

The “background story” is either above, or resides in the following: The Archeological record offers us a frustratingly fragmented view of the past. Though fragmentary, this archeoview is pregnant with secrets yet to be discovered and is thrilling in its potential. Secrecy is power even if it is just a little something kept from view, buried, so to speak, in the matrix of everyday life...

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Book Review: Programmed Visions: Software and Memory

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ENIAC programmers, late 1940s. (U.S. military photo, Redstone Arsenal Archives, Huntsville, Alabama), from Programmed Visions by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun.

After “getting fit” and whatever else people typically declare to be their new year’s resolutions, this year’s most popular goal is surprisingly nerdy: learning to code. Within the first week of 2012, over 250,000 people, including New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg, had signed up for weekly interactive programming lessons on a site called Code Year. The website promises to put its users “on the path to building great websites, games, and apps.” But as New Yorker web editor Blake Eskin writes, “The Code Year campaign also taps into deeper feelings of inadequacy... If you can code, the implicit promise is that you will not be wiped out by the enormous waves of digital change sweeping through our economy and society.” 

If the entrepreneurs behind Code Year (and the masses of users they’ve signed up for lessons) are all hoping to ride the wave of digital change, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, a professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, is the academic trying to pause for a moment to take stock of the present situation and see where software is actually headed. All the frenzy about apps and “the cloud,” Chun argues, is just another turn in the “cycles of obsolescence and renewal” that define new media. The real change, which Chun lays out in her book Programmed Visions: Software and Memory, is that “programmability,” the logic of computers, has come to reach beyond screens into both the systems of government and economics and the metaphors we use to make sense of the world ...

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Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus (video)

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Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus

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From the Rhizome Archives: Hacking the Art OS--Interview with Cornelia Sollfrank

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In this series of posts, we will be reblogging content from Rhizome's Archives, available here. This interview with Cornelia Sollfrank, conducted by Florian Cramer, comes from Rhizome's former publication, the Rhizome Digest. It was published on March 31, 2002. You can peruse old editions of the Rhizome Digest here.

Big thanks to Rhizome's curatorial fellow Natalie Saltiel for help with this post.


Date: 3.15.2002 From: Florian Cramer (cantsin AT zedat.fu-berlin.de) Subject: Hacking the Art OS--Interview with Cornelia Sollfrank Keywords: net art, hacking, gender, design

[This is the English translation of the original-length German interview. Copyleft and publication data is given at the end. -FC]

Hacking the art operating system

Cornelia Sollfrank interviewed by Florian Cramer, December 28th, 2001, during the annual congress of the Chaos Computer Club (German Hacker's Club) in Berlin.

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I have questions on various thematic complexes which in your work seem to be continually referring to each other: hacking and art, computer generated, or more specifically, generative art, cyberfeminism, or the questions that your new work entitled 'Improvised Tele-vision' throw up. And of course the thematic complex plagiarism and appropriation - as well as what can be seen as an appendix to that, art and code, code art and code aesthetics.

Surely code art and code aesthetics are more your themes than mine. I think I should be the one asking the questions here. (laughter)

...no, this refers very specifically to statements made by you, for example in your Telepolis interview with 0100101110111001.org, which I found excellent because of its rather sceptical undertones. If that really is more my area though, then by all means we can bracket it out of the interview.

No, no. I didn't mean it like that. Quite the opposite in fact. However that is what is so interesting and difficult about the relationship between these complexes - and which I often find myself arguing about. A lot of things appear to run parallel, or better put, one invests more in one area for a particular period of time, then returns back to something else. To keep an eye on how these various activities link together is not easy.

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carnal fury .com (2011) - Rafaël Rozendaal

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Commissioned by Kunsteverein Wiesbaden
Coding by Reinier Feijen

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From the Rhizome Archives: Code As Creative Writing--An Interview with John F. Simon, Jr. by Jon Ippolito

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In this series of posts, we will be reblogging content from Rhizome's Archives, available here. This interview with John F. Simon, Jr., conducted by Jon Ippolito, comes from Rhizome's former publication, the Rhizome Digest. It was published on March 23, 2002. You can peruse old editions of the Rhizome Digest here.

Big thanks to Rhizome's curatorial fellow Natalie Saltiel for help with this post.


Date: 3.12.2002
From: Jon Ippolito
Subject: Code As Creative Writing--An Interview with John F. Simon, Jr
Keywords: software, programming, design

This interview took place in January 2002, on the occasion of the Guggenheim's acquisition of John Simon's Unfolding Object. More info at http://www.guggenheim.org/internetart.

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Jon Ippolito: You've been working on or near the cutting edge of digital art since the mid-1980s, when you were programming image-processing routines for CCD [charge-coupled device] photography. Yet you often cite sources of inspiration from the world of pen and brush rather than the world of pixel and browser, and I see some of these influences of Modernism-for example, the influence of Paul Klee in your plotter drawings [1994-95] and Sol LeWitt in Combinations [1995]. What is it about those artists that speaks to you?

John F. Simon, Jr.: I am interested in analytical approaches to creativity. A new technology doesn't erase a life's work of thoughtful, creative production. The ideas are bigger than the medium. There are many examples in art history where artistic practice could be described as algorithmic-an approach to experimentation by rule making, including LeWitt and Conceptual artists in the 1970s also Paul Klee in the 1920's along with many other Bauhaus professors.

An even older example would be Dominican priest-scholar Sebastien Truchet's 1722 work on the use of combinations in tile design. His study uses square tiles of two colors that are divided diagonally. He assigned a letter to each of the four possible orientations of this kind of tile. He then made lists of letters describing the sequence and orientation for laying out the tiles. The lists functioned like instructions or programs for constructing the design. Craftsmen would pick a pattern out of his book and use the lists of letters as assembly instructions. Another even older example would be the analytical techniques used in the design of the Alhambra and in much Islamic art.

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Beryl Korot "Text and Commentary" from Art21

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Artist Beryl Korot discusses her 1977 video installation Text and Commentary in this brief clip. Korot's solo exhibition "Beryl Korot: Text/Weave/Line—Video, 1977-2010" is on view at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum until January 2nd.

Note: We reblogged another Art21 interview with Korot earlier this year, in which she talks about her involvement with the pioneering 1970s video art publication Radical Software.

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Monument to the Banana Revolution (2010) - Les Liens Invisibles

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monument.png

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From the Archives

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Video of "Spacewar"

Ready or not, computers are coming to the people.

That's good news, maybe the best since psychedelics. It's way off the track of the "Computers - Threat or menace? school of liberal criticism but surprisingly in line with the romantic fantasies of the forefathers of the science such as Norbert Wiener, Warren McCulloch, J.C.R. Licklider, John von Neumann and Vannevar Bush.

The trend owes its health to an odd array of influences: The youthful fervor and firm dis-Establishmentarianism of the freaks who design computer science; an astonishingly enlightened research program from the very top of the Defense Department; an unexpected market-Banking movement by the manufacturers of small calculating machines, and an irrepressible midnight phenomenon known as Spacewar.

Reliably, at any nighttime moment (i.e. non-business hours) in North America hundreds of computer technicians are effectively out of their bodies, locked in life-or-Death space combat computer-projected onto cathode ray tube display screens, for hours at a time, ruining their eyes, numbing their fingers in frenzied mashing of control buttons, joyously slaying their friend and wasting their employers' valuable computer time. Something basic is going on.

Rudimentary Spacewar consists of two humans, two sets of control buttons or joysticks, one TV-like display and one computer. Two spaceships are displayed in motion on the screen, controllable for thrust, yaw, pitch and the firing of torpedoes. Whenever a spaceship and torpedo meet, they disappear in an attractive explosion. That's the original version invented in 1962 at MIT by Steve Russell. (More on him in a moment.)

October, 1972, 8 PM, at Stanford's Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory, moonlit and remote in the foothills above Palo Alto, California. Two dozen of us are jammed in a semi-dark console room just off the main hall containing AI's PDP-10 ...

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