Humans have a unique ability to build formal languages. We use them for both communicate among us, but also to communicate with the machines we assemble. Computer programming languages and natural languages are both formal languages. Nonetheless they stay at the antipodes: one is close to our anthropological way of communicate and the other is close to how the inner machine logic works. But, they both instantly establish an understandable abstract environment to describe processes. Their point of contact is centered in the way we’re able to write programming language code closer to our natural language (English is the universally adopted one) transversally modifying the way we formulate what we’d like the machine to do, and so generating a significant output. This formulation is a hybrid territory where pure language, explicit dynamic structures and simple to complex formulas collide. Loops, cycles that run depending on value-driven decisions are outputting computed meanings. Words and numbers, meaningfully sequenced are directing the formation of a text, a drawing, a picture, a sound, a movie, or a combination of all the above, with the programmer acting as an open scriptwriter and the user acting as a temporary director and spectator at the same time. These two actors (the programmer and the user) have an invisible and time-delayed relationship that is defined through the programming code, and the same code embodies the many adapted and twisted senses mutating the natural language. This is the territory where historically “software art” steps in. Playing with language and its power to generate impressive output thanks to its ability to use a readable formal language, that is potentially generating infinite sense (as the natural language does).
- Alessandro Ludovico is an artist, media critic and editor in chief of Neural magazine since 1993. He has published and edited several books, and has lectured worldwide. He’s one of the founders of Mag.Net (Electronic Cultural Publishers organization). He also served as an advisor for the Documenta 12’s Magazine Project. He has been guest researcher at the Willem De Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and he teaches at the Academy of Art in Carrara. He is one of the authors of the Hacking Monopolism trilogy of artworks (Google WIll Eat Itself, Amazon Noir, Face to Facebook). neural.it
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