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

Pall Thayer pallthay at gmail.com
Tue Sep 22 23:10:58 CEST 2020

Hi Julian,
Don't get me wrong. I'm not really trying to justify the existence of
anything. Rather, I'm trying to justify my own notion that I've created
some art with computer programming that works better outside of the
computer and digital realm.

Thanks for your comment on The Longest Line. I appreciate it. And I'm glad
you brought it up because it's a good example to bring into the discussion.
As I see it, The Longest Line couldn't possibly exist in any other form
than it is presented in. It's made for the web browser and even borne out
of web culture (the infinite scroll). I can't think of any other means of
presenting it and having the piece actually "work". However, my experiment
with the single pixel on the screen doesn't work even though it's
constructed with web technology and conceptually borne out of digital
concepts (the pixel). It's too hard to see the pixel, causing the art work
to be far less interesting than it could be. So, my first reaction was,
screw it, I'll just make the "pixel" a 10x10 pixel square even though the
code presented is for a 1x1 square. But I always get too involved in the
conceptual side. That part of me thought, "No, you can't do that. The code
says 1x1, therefore the pixel must be 1x1." That's when it occurred to me
that I could, for instance, turn it into a tee shirt design. It would still
show the code but, since it's no longer on a computer screen, I get to
determine the size of the pixel. Which got me to thinking, hey... what
about creating work with code as my medium but instead of a computer or
software interpreting the codes, I can interpret them in my own head and
construct them any way I want. So, I really just began this discussion to
justify my own conceptual choices. But I'm glad people can apply the ideas
in different ways.

On Tue, Sep 22, 2020 at 4:03 PM Julian Brooks <lists at julianbrooks.net>

> Hi Pall,
> As a fairly recent netbehaviourist I'm kinda saddened that justifying
> existence is still a thing for digital artists (esp here)...
> For my music practice I think of code (Pd mainly) as instrument and
> laptop as tool.
> Anyhow, this 'wrong-ness' puts me in mind of some Gavin Bryars pieces,
> where things like chinese-whispered scores, near-impossible realisations
> over vast dimensions and inaudible content form the various pieces -
> most often with great titles (his website seems to be down so can't
> share many links but e.g.
> https://britishmusiccollection.org.uk/sites/default/files/migrated/scores//3098w.pdf
> or a realisation of one here:
> http://www.pores.bbk.ac.uk/issues/issue5/poetry-and-music/JamesSaundersandJohnLely
> Music's good (experimental esp.) for this kinda thing...
> Re the pixel -- I'm maybe overthinking but isn't it then an object
> (which is fine) but not a pixel (it would perhaps require defining
> physical image resolution, which, for me, is kinda interesting
> conceptually also. Hmmm:)
> Cheers,
> Julian
> P.S. Can I do a quick fanboy thing and say The Longest Line was one of
> my favourite pieces of 2019 <:hands>.
> On 22/09/2020 17:07, Pall Thayer via NetBehaviour wrote:
> > 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:
> >
> > http://pallthayer.dyndns.org/notApixel/
> >
> > 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:
> >
> > http://pallthayer.dyndns.org/notApixel/notApixel.png
> >
> > 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
> > artist
> > http://pallthayer.dyndns.org
> > *****************************

Pall Thayer
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