[PD] Hot inlet position

Mathieu Bouchard matju at artengine.ca
Thu Aug 20 22:36:45 CEST 2009

On Thu, 20 Aug 2009, marius schebella wrote:

> Look at Pd as a programming language and artists using Pd to 
> program/build their instruments. Then, artists are doing this in their 
> function as programmers and not as musicians.

The problem is that you think of those functions as separate. When you 
make a musical Pd patch, you are both making a program and making music. 
In this case, it is one and the same activity, but plenty of people 
persist in thinking you can't be both programming and making music as two 
aspects of the same thoughts, actions and gestures.

When I started talking about Pd as a programming language, it's definitely 
not to rob it from the artists! It was more because in my mind there is no 
contradiction whatsoever and I didn't see what was the point of thinking 
of Pd as not really a programming language. It was more like giving to the 
artists the idea of a programming language, a hint that out there, there 
is that mountain of ideas that they can use, that is not as irrelevant to 
making music as was previously assumed.

There are plenty of people who use large amounts of math and/or custom 
programming for their jobs and don't make so much of a fuss about it. 
Computerising the biology lab doesn't make it less like biology and 
computerising the printing press doesn't make it less like printing.

> The interchange between artist and software writer/instrument builder 
> has to take place in a schizophrenic manner inside oneself.

That's because of lesser integration. Compartmentalising of knowledge is 
very useful as it makes one fit better in a university department and 
makes things more countable (a person may have 3 degrees in 3 "different" 
disciplines...). More integration of your knowledge makes you figure out 
more how all those things intersect and how some things are not that much 
distinct after all, and it compresses information in your brain, and 
allows a more diverse span of reasoning. This increased span of reasoning 
is also what can make you fit less in a university department and is at 
the heart of the recent need for interdisciplinary studies.

About schizophrenia... you actually mean split personality, which is 
something entirely different.

> Otoh, this means that a lot of the discussion we are seeing today about 
> improvements or new features are really discussions between two types of 
> programmers: the ones that write Pd, and the ones that write *with* or 
> *in* Pd. This is really a trap, because the original citation above does 
> not take into account that another type of programmer would pop up 
> between the artist and the software writer that just wants to improve 
> features to use Pd as a tool to build instruments. Needs on this level 
> are somehow ignored because they are no artistic needs. Otoh, this also 
> built a wall/gap between artists and core Pd developers, because artists 
> nowadays mostly talk to people who use Pd as a programming language 
> unless even more people admit to wear more than one hat. best, marius.

Perhaps all that I'm saying so far is just a really sophisticated way to 
tell you that I have no bloody idea what you're talking about. ;) All 
those different types of people and those distinctions between programming 
language and instrument, and those who wear different hats and seem to 
have a need to switch hats. huh? all those people struggling to be a 
social role, or several of them, instead of just being themselves...

But I still think we could talk about it more and finally understand each 

> From my point of view this stage where we have a discussion between
> artists and programmers was eliminated at the moment when Pd was
> perceived to be a programming language (which it somehow is) as
> opposed to a computer music instrument.

BTW if I spoke against the word "instrument" it's more about how people 
are likely take this word than what it could mean. It's the concern that 
the traditional image of the instrument can limit the ideas of the 
authors. But it depends on how the word is actually used. The context a 
word is put in, can suggest the word to be small or big in scope.

  _ _ __ ___ _____ ________ _____________ _____________________ ...
| Mathieu Bouchard - tél:+1.514.383.3801, Montréal, Québec

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