Philosophically the most interesting thing about computers is that from the earliest stages of their conception, they were thought of as general purpose machines. Part of their structure has been deliberately left blank and may be readily changed. This part is of course the program. If a computer is made use of for its ability to support a particular small set of programs then it its potential is unrealised. If artists are truly interested in maximising the scope of their creativity, or in taking more control of the political agenda in their use of computers, then they should get tough and take the hard approach of writing their own programs. This approach requires no more hardware than others (usually less) and can be achieved (somewhat surprisingly) on quite standard personal computer configurations. Further, the results of programming efforts are easily subject to literal deconstruction and reuse in other contexts and are therefore well suited to communal use. The major input to the programming approach is time, usually more abundant to artists than other commodities.
This approach should naturally be leavened with recourse to readymade processes when available, and indeed it is the case that large applications programs which rely primarily on graphic user inter faces are now providing interfaces either to dedicated scripting facilities or to generalised inter process communications capable of or oriented towards programmed control. More and more, third party provided components may be connected to produce flexible and powerful hybrids.
The communicational connections that constitute these hybrids are at once generalised, specific, arbitrary and structured. They are inevitably expressed in some form of language. The program of events described by that language is limited largely by the ability of artists to express themselves appropriately. Few would disagree that expression is an essential goal for artists.
- Adam Wolters, Australia