[PD] Re: Code Art

Mathieu Bouchard matju at sympatico.ca
Sat Dec 6 23:17:23 CET 2003

On Sat, 6 Dec 2003, B. Bogart wrote:

> I suppose we have been popping back and forth between material and
> conceptual supremacy. In my own art education concept has tended to be
> the emphasis, with material asethetics there to "complete" the
> package.

But is that emphasis visible in the art object, in the process of
constructing it, or in the small blurb every artist's got to write to keep
critics happy ?

> In my own work I find it more and more difficult to seperate the
> "material" (bits? algorithms? electrons? phosphors? ICs?) from the
> "concept". I think its probably my abandoning of black and white logic
> for a more fuzzy conception.

I don't think it has anything to do with fuzziness. It has to do with the
stereotyped material/conceptual dialectic that assumes that the concept
never can be about the material used, from the axiom that the art is an
idea first, and it's just a sad thing that it has to be incarnated into
puny petty materials [that make it impure]. ;-)

But in your process there is, as far as I can infer it, a dialogue between
the concept and the material.

> > It's a pity that "computer science" is called like that when it could be
> > called "computing science". Computing in general is something that can
> > happen anywhere. Plants grow following algorithms.
> Neil Postman said that "For a programmer, everything in the world becomes an
> algorithm."

It is also that the world also lends itself to be seen as such.

> I've always hated that term, In fact I could not mind dropping the
> science part altogether, since its a little closer to engineering than
> science.

It depends which compsci you are talking about. Topics of computing have
grown like mad in the 50 last years and have invaded all surrounding
domains. It reaches around for logic, mathematics, statistics, operations
research, linguistics, psychology, engineering, and so on.

> It is at the technical level still "computation" -> but is that not
> almost anything?

Hired "computers" only had to deal with computing numbers explicitly to
get results needed by engineers and the military.

> don't reductionists think thought processes can be reduced to
> compuation?

Yes, but it depends: if it is the case that the reduction is valid, it
doesn't mean it is useful, and still the higher levels of thought may
remain better ways of thinking.

> Without structure the concept of "material" is meaningless.(except for
> the case of noise as material) Without material the concept of the
> word "structure" is meaningless. These things are utterly inseperable,
> and to reduce to one or the other is just that, a reduction.

I didn't reduce them. I was talking about the structure of matter. (!)

A small bit about noise: every noise has its distribution, and a
distribution is a pattern. Noise/randomness has _some_ structure, albeit
less than anything else.

Mathieu Bouchard                       http://artengine.ca/matju

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