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Subject:

Re: Software as Art

From:

Andreas Broeckmann <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Curating digital art - www.newmedia.sunderland.ac.uk/crumb/

Date:

Wed, 4 Jul 2001 09:42:22 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (87 lines)

some of the questions that were raised in relation to my posting have
already been answered by others, so i will try to be brief with some more
responses:

Anthony:
>The algorithm seems to replace the creative will of the artist, in many
>cases.  This is exciting to me not because it is technologically marvelous,
>but because of what this implies in how the artist and the audience
>understand each other.

for me it is also interesting because the machinic process that develops
from the algorithm reduces the aspect of intentionality from the artistic
process and puts an autopoietic machine process in its place; the aesthetic
dimension then lies not in the fact that the effect is 'beautiful' or the
code is functional or 'beautifully written'. as with any artistic practice,
there can be different aesthetic modes according to which works or
processes can be judged. for me, the oscillation between control and
idiosyncracy in a computer, this supposedly precise machine, is closely
linked to the aesthetic experience of a work of software art. to observe
how the computer sings itself to sleep, or goes into a mindless delirium.
an example is Antoine Schmitt's Vexation 1, a programme that sends a small
white ball across a black rectangle, finely balanced between a rule pattern
and randomness. (http://www.gratin.org/as)


>> definition that excludes applications of software like director or
>>shockwave;

Ittai:
>On what basis was this decision made?

the idea was to give an award to a piece of original software, rather than
to an application of software that exists as a commercial product. Susan
might be right that there is a 'crafts' idea behind this. another aspect is
that we aim to encourage open source projects, rather than the promotion of
closed and proprietary softwares. director and shockwave are owned by
companies that can choose to withdraw their product from the market any
day, making it illegal for people to continue running their scripts. this
is, obviously, a ludicrous situation, and it cannot happen to you when you
are using free software.


>>   How do you 'show' or distribute it?

Dave:
>To interpret this literally: In a code development environment or simulator
>where you can step forward, halt and continue the instruction sequence and
>watch what happens?
>
>If the idea is to establish that software is an Art form then it would be
>logical to show it in a similar context and way as other Art: eg in some
>kind of special space which invokes the necessary awe and aura; in a
>museum/gallery - virtual or otherwise.

i disagree. long, long gone are the days when you needed an auratic space
to present something as art - this idea misses the point of a lot of art
from the last 100 years, and we should not continue to buy into the myth.
'other Art' also gets shown elsewhere.

Dave's first question is interesting and gets us, i think, to the core of
the problem of software art for a curatorial practice. many paintings are
made to be displayed on the wall of a gallery, or an office, or a church.
they make sense there, and they sometimes suffer when they are displayed
out of context, some also win, but there often is a logic to the relation
between an artwork and the environment where it is shown.

how, then, do you 'exhibit' a process that runs on a tiny processor? Daniel
Garcia Andujar recently printed out the source code of the I-Love-You virus
and displayed it on a gallery wall in Dortmund
(http://www.irational.org/tttp) - this is obviously just an ironic gesture.
a piece like Vexation 1 you can show on an IMac, it keeps running endlessly
and is designed as a more or less self-explanatory work. in Adrian Ward's
Signwave Auto-Illustrator (http://www.signwave.co.uk), the best way to
experience it is to interact with the programme on a regular PC which can
but need not be your own. pieces by JODI and nn are probably best
experinced on your own machine because they play with your emotional
attachments to what's on it. whereas the processes involved in a piece like
Daniela Plewe's Ultima Ratio (http://www.sabonjo.de) needs a lot of
explanation and its 'beauty' might only reveal itself to people who have a
deeper understanding of the informatic and logical processes going on in
the computer.

i'll leave it here for the moment.

greetings from sunny berlin,
-a

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