[PD] Re: Code Art

B. Bogart ben at ekran.org
Sun Dec 7 01:46:31 CET 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mathieu Bouchard" <matju at sympatico.ca>
To: "B. Bogart" <ben at ekran.org>
Cc: "thewade" <pdman at aproximation.org>; "the list" <pd-list at iem.kug.ac.at>;
"Pall Thayer" <palli at pallit.lhi.is>
Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2003 5:17 PM
Subject: [PD] Re: Code Art

> 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 ?

Good point. The emphasis is only visible in the process/documentation
(lord I hate making these "reductionist" writeups, which are too
the idea is everything. How else to get grants though???)

> > 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]. ;-)

Agreed, In fact dialectics are not just blank and white anyhow. I'm happy
you say dialectic here and not dichotomy! Oh the impurity of reality!
On this topic I have some (related) writing:


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

Absolutely, I would say for myself (dispute the eductation perhaps) that
sides have to be taken in a dialectic relationship. Not one being the master

> > > It's a pity that "computer science" is called like that when it could
> > > 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 find it hard to seperate our world from our conceptions of it.

> > 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.

definatly true, even more reason for a better term! But what?

> > 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.

This is true, those old trajectory tables!!! Eniac's main (only?) purpose.

> > 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.

This is also a great point. A reduction may be technically/empirically
valid, but that does not mean something has not been lost. (Postman
talks a lot about this)

> > 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.

Very true, I was talking about uniformly distributed noise. But does this
really exist? Or is all noise also chaos? (structure and indeterminacy)
What is the lyapunov (measure of chaos) exponent of white/brown/pink noise?


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> Mathieu Bouchard                       http://artengine.ca/matju
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