[NetBehaviour] Some things I've been thinking about lately

Pall Thayer pallthay at gmail.com
Tue Sep 22 18:07:11 CEST 2020

As some on this list know, for many years, I've been pushing the notion
that programming code should be viewed as an artistic medium when it's used
to create art. The artist molds it into shape, as they would with a lump of
clay, until it takes its final form. When I've discussed these ideas, I've
always gotten a lot of pushback. People will say that programming code is a
tool, like a paintbrush, not the medium, like paint. I don't agree. This
notion has piqued my interest again in the wake of a rising trend where
artists are creating graphic images by only using HTML/CSS (e.g.
https://a.singlediv.com/ , https://diana-adrianne.com/purecss-francine/ ).

The problem with computer programmed art, however, is that it requires a
computer. In my mind, there really hasn't been any justifiable reason to
display computer programmed art on anything other than a computer... unless
it adds something significant to the work. And this is something
interesting that has recently occurred to me. I came up with this really
simply piece:


And have decided that this piece, although based entirely on computer
programming code, will work better when divorced from the computer and the
browser's interpretation of the code. On my 4k screen, it's practically
impossible to see the red pixel in the center. If I remove the work from
the environment that interprets the code, I'm free to determine the size of
a single pixel:


And I could choose to produce that piece in any physical material I want.
It could be a block of wood glued to a panel of wood. What determines the
size of a pixel of wood? What determines the result of a hexadecimal color
code when it's been removed from the computer? If the code is to be
interpreted in wood, what does #f00 mean?

My main point is that with the example shown above, the piece can be made
to work better at a conceptual level than it would if it were not removed
from the browser environment.

I'd love to hear other people's ideas on this. I did just write this all
off the top of my head, so if I'm rambling and things don't make sense,
just ask and I'll do my best to clarify.

Pall Thayer

Pall Thayer
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