[NetBehaviour] On artists that write code and artists that do not

james morris james at jwm-art.net
Sat Jun 6 13:03:34 CEST 2009

Hi Pall,

I want to ask if you could elaborate on the last sentence? Or do I mean,
elaborate on the differences? Anyway, just my agreements, extraneous
comments, and questions, below which i'm not sure add much to what
you've already said or particularly matter.


I think if you're an artist writing code... as an artist who writes
code... when doing so, code _is_ the fundamental medium being

can the chosen code language be considered analogous to a choice of oils
or acrylics etc (or stone wood concrete etc) ETC?

but then what does the code do? there is definitely a hierarchy of
mediums, for example writing code which produces code: PHP >> HTML. Is
the HTML a by-product medium or as equally the medium as PHP?

Then with PHP it's most likely going to be on the internet, which may or
may not be important, and the screen  being the least important in the
medium hierarchy _unless_ visual appearance is an important aspect.

does the code even do anything, is writing in code which does not
function as code anything to do with this? the fact is code is just
text, which can also play a role (but the thinking is going to be
entirely different).

if you're an artist writing (functioning) code, the code can take on a
life of its own as much as has been said of any other more traditional
medium. i'm sure coding has been likened with the tradition sculptural
anecdote - it all already exists, it's just a matter of chipping away
at it.

perhaps when you're finished the bulk of the code and you're left with
the tweaks and then the medium is not so much code?

On 5/6/2009, "Pall Thayer" <pallthay at gmail.com> wrote:

>I'm releasing something I wrote last year because it's becoming
>relevant now. A short one-pager explaining some basic ideas regarding
>code as a medium.
>Also accessible from the Microcodes site at http://pallit.lhi.is/microcodes
>Pall Thayer
>NetBehaviour mailing list
>NetBehaviour at netbehaviour.org

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