[NetBehaviour] CODE.Determination / Indeterminacy in Analogue and Digital Systems

Laura Plana Gracia lauraplanagracia at ymail.com
Mon Jan 27 22:19:57 CET 2014

 The relationship between Art and Technology is strengthened with the use
of open source software. The use of "free software" has become a
crucial material stimulating the Digital Age. The ideology of pro-common
networking encourages the creation and development of tools such as GNU/Linux,
Processing, Pure Data, Openframeworks, and other open source software. Much of
the developers operate establishing networks of collaborative work,
facilitating emerging practices that allow access to the use of free software
and free-code. The distinction between open source and closed source respond to
different conditions. The use of a type of code is determined by functions or
intentions, and it is or transparent or opaque. Open source facilitates the
copy, the improvement and the distribution of the software. Open source is
rooted to certain ideological motivation. Its birth was the Free Software
Foundation, founded by Richard Stallman, who created the GNU/Linux operating
system in 1998. As Stallman, Lawrence Lessig is a proponent of open source. According
to Lessig, the code is statement, annotation and operates as a working
operating order. The code is also a structural part of the Internet appliance. It
means that in its structural function, the code is treated as a law. The code
is the law, a computer law[1], and the
principles of building the network are based on it. Build or design the
cyberspace, as a type of code will enable certain principles, such as the
protection of creativity, communication, information, privacy or identity,
trade and freedom. These principles are threatened by the regulation, control,
security and cyber-surveillance, powered by Microsoft who develops tracking
structures, laws that behaves in many cases the state punishment. Apart from
social and historical conditions, there are also formal and ideological
relations between computer coding, contemporary narratives and digital,
conceptual and minimal art. Legislation is also functionally related to
computer code. Code, ideology and science are also part of a social network
where relations of production mediate the society. Creative freedom and
individual responsibility are foundational rights of the social community in
the current Digital Age; this development engine is determined by the use of
the code. Like ideology or science, the use of the code provides guidelines
that form the basis of certain values for the​system.
  Subsequently, Thomas Dreher[2] analyzed the
relationship between art, science and computer code. Their study gave answers
to how and why the conceptual art is a reference to the code art. The texts in
conceptual art, as in the programming language, are liberated from conventions
regarding the media. In programming language is done a textual relationship
between the development and the action, a direct relationship. The use of
annotations, short texts, propositions and rules is common. The text is used as
an instruction for operations and responds to observations and descriptions in
accordance with thought processes. Here is understood how the thought functions
through concepts. These are the foundational principles of the logic. The
reduction of thought to concepts allows permutation and combinatorial law that
confirm the rebuttal or truth, or in a more scientific approach, prediction,
feedback or calculation. Here the thought (Leibniz), logic (Wittgenstein),
mathematics and computer science (Norbert Weiner) binds. This approach to the
code as language is interesting as far as the code becomes an operational tool.
The code operates directly as a function. It means that all language functions
are omitted and concentrated in a direction of action. Originally, the code as
a generator and ordination eliminates everything superfluous or unnecessary. Inke
Arns described the programming code as being characterized by the fact that
"say" matches with "do". The code is an effective act of
speech, not a description or representation of something. Rather, it directly
and literally runs or gives life to a process[3]. These considerations
evaluate the code as something essential and determining in the computer
processes in communication and others devices.
  Most artists use electronic circuits, programming
languages ​​and algorithms that relate analogue systems to digital
systems. The code in art is understood as an instruction for the creation, a
tool for art. Instructions and textual annotations are also linguistic
processes in conceptual art and electronic art. An algorithm can be considered
as a detailed and systematically order to perform a task procedure. Casey Reas
uses the programming language and the code as part of the process for drawing. The
work entitled “Software Structures” takes conceptual art references. The
drawings of Sol Lewitt, the “Wall Drawings” made using instructions and
diagrams were inspiration for the “Software Structures” by Casey Reas. Therefore,
the creator of Processing is interested, as Thomas Dreher is, in the ability of
language as a code and as an order to execute. The interest in processes that
approach to the conceptual operation of language is an elemental characteristic
in the three authors. As Casey Reas defined: "The catalyst for this
project is the work of Sol Lewitt. I had a simple question: Is the history of
conceptual art relevant to the idea of ​​software as art? I began to find
answers implementing three of the Sol Lewitt drawings into software"[4]. Reas took three
of the drawings from the “Wall Drawings” by Sol Lewitt: #85, #106, #358. Following
the instructions, the verbal concepts or the annotations of the conceptual
artist Lewitt had used for the realization of the drawings, Casey Reas
made ​​the first steps towards the development and problem solving in
programming. He then used these concepts in different programming languages
such as Processing, C++ and Flash MX, with the help of Jared Tarbell, Robert
Hodgin and William Ngan.
 The relationship between Analogue and Digital systems responses to
different models of perception, knowledge and cognitive processes. The
differences between analogue and digital systems lie in its nature as language
for signal transmissions. Finally, a new designation and context for code art
is required. Nominations as Conceptual Software Art or Conceptual Sound will
help to historicize the New Media Art.

[1] Lawrence Lessig. El código 2.0. Traficantes de
Sueños. Mapas. 2009. Page 37.
[2] Conceptual Art and Software Art: Notations,
Algorithms and Codes. Literature and Current:
Code Interface Concept.
Literaturhaus Stuttgart, 11/11/2005. Thomas Dreher. http://dreher.netzliteratur.net
[3] Inke Arns: Read_me, Run_me, Execute_me. Software
and its Discontents, or: It´s the Performativity of Code, Stupid. Program code
is characterised by the fact that here `saying´ coincides with `doing´. Code as
an effective speech act is not a description or a representation of something,
but, on the contrary, it directly affects, and literally sets in motion - or it
even `kills´ a process. http://art.runme.org/1107863582-4268-0/arns.pdf
[4] Casey Reas. Software Structures. http://artport.whitney.org/commissions/softwarestructures/map.html
By Laura Plana Gracia
(Independent Curator and Researcher). 
Lecture at Digital
Analogy.Pioneers of New Media
Exhibition and Media
M.A.C. Museo de Arte
Contemporaneo de Bogota 
8 - 28th February 2014 
More info here: http://lauraplanagracia.blogspot.co.uk/
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