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

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Thu Sep 24 20:19:03 CEST 2020

Hi - It's been recognized for a long time that code itself can be a work 
of art in all sorts of ways - the book Critical Code Studies covers some 
of that I think; there was also a whole movement early on of Perl poetry 
that was simultaneously literature and runnable programs; there have also 
been productions and studies of untoward languages, including ones that 
were invisible early on - and now that area has developed tremendously. I 
used to have the urls for those but don't at the moment unfortunately. The 
production of the pixel is an interpretation; it would also run of course 
without a screen at all. Not that it matters, but I did a lot of 
programming with a TI59 programmable calculator years ago; some of them 
were short and were taken to be works of art such as a steady state which 
had the command 'return' and nothing else. There's also codework, which 
I've emphasized that I meant runnable code that intersected/interfered 
with its surface production, a kind of grit. So I'm not sure what 
distinction you're making here? And thanks, Alan - really interesting 
discussion -

On Thu, 24 Sep 2020, Pall Thayer via NetBehaviour wrote:

> Hi Bruno. Didn't you and I share a hotel room in Bergen, NO many years ago?
> I think I get your point. Yes, programming code is like a blueprint in a
> way. That blueprint then gets interpreted by a computer or software and then
> turns into an action. A movie or play script is also a blueprint but one
> that gets interpreted by humans. Obviously, a human "interpretation" of
> something is going to be a lot more flexible than a computer's
> interpretation of code. Therein lies the main difference between those two
> schematics. What I'm proposing is a bit of a hybrid. If I feel that my own
> (human) interpretation of a piece of code is going to make the outcome
> somehow better (or just different, if people prefer), then I'm going to do
> so from the perspective of a human who knows full well how the code will
> perform when interpreted by the computer. So it's still grounded in a more
> restrictive outcome than a movie or play script. If I allow myself too much
> freedom in my interpretation, then I might as well abandon the programming
> code part and we're basically back to 60s conceptualism. I'm looking for
> something similar but different.
> I do believe that the text of programming code can stand on its own as works
> of art and have pursued that angle for several years in my Microcodes
> (http://pallthayer.dyndns.org/microcodes/) and Object Oriented Art Code
> (http://pallthayer.dyndns.org/stealthiscodeart/). I see the ideas that I'm
> pitching here as my "logical next step".
> Best r.
> Pall
> On Thu, Sep 24, 2020 at 2:53 AM Bruno Vianna via NetBehaviour
> <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>       hi Pall
>       I don't know if I'm playing devil's advocate or standing for
>       your
>       point, but it comes to my mind the idea of a blueprint, which is
>       not
>       exclusive to code. Wouldn't a script for a movie, the  lines of
>       a
>       play, be also forms of laying out a final shape? And these codes
>       (text) are also self-standing pieces of art? I could go even
>       further
>       and think of the frames of a movie compared to the screened
>       result in
>       a session.
>       In case, the argument is very interesting.
>       Bruno
>       On Tue, Sep 22, 2020 at 7:13 PM Pall Thayer via NetBehaviour
>       <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> 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
>       > *****************************
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> --
> *****************************
> Pall Thayer
> artist
> http://pallthayer.dyndns.org
> *****************************

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