Craig Brozefsky on Tue, 14 Sep 1999 16:18:24 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Linux wins Prix Ars due to MICROSOFT INTERVENTION

valery grancher <> writes:

> By confusing metalanguage and language, by making transfer from
> aesthetism(philosophy) to enginering, we are getting off the
> original sense of every art concept.  No linguist is able today to
> say that informatic language which are constituting any software are
> a language, regarding lingusitic analysis they are metalanguage for
> one specific reason which is: that no computer is now able to have
> their consciousness, specially about their language mutations. If
> they would, they would make computer psychoanalysis regarding their
> way of thinking ;-) We are not on this point...

Programmers are conscious, and indeed, I know of some undergoing
psychoanalysis presently.

In the foreward to Abelson, Sussman and Sussman's "Structure and
Interpretation of Computer Programs" Alan J. Perlis described the art
of programming as existing in the tension of three different
phenomena.  The human mind, collections of programs, and the
computer.[1] The following is an excerpt from that forward on the
program as it is in the human mind, I suggest that the foreward be
read in its entirety to avoid over-emphasizing one aspect at the
expense of the others:

	Our traffic with the subject matter of this book involves us
	with three foci of phenomena: the human mind, collections of
	computer programs, and the computer. Every computer program is
	a model, hatched in the mind, of a real or mental process. The
	processes, arising from human experience and thought, are huge
	in number, intricate in detail, and at any time only partially
	understood. They are modeled to our permanent satisfaction
	rarely by our computer programs. Thus even though our programs
	are carefully handcrafted discrete collections of symbols,
	mosaics of interlocking functions, they continually evolve, we
	change them as our perception of the model deepens, enlarges,
	generalizes until the model ultimately attains a metastable
	place within still another model with which we struggle. The
	source of the exhilaration associated with computer
	programming is the continual unfolding within the mind and on
	the computer of mechanisms expressed as programs and the
	explosion of perception they generate. If art interprets our
	dreams, the computer executes them in the guise of programs!

The consciousness of the programmer and the expressivity provided them
for modeling, along with the means to maintain structural and semantic
integrity of a programs, are the main focuses of computer language
design.  The computer itself plays a minor role in modern languages,
who no longer are "machine instruction languages" like assembly, but
are "languages for symbolic manipulation" or "algorithmic langauges".

While I do not agree with your assertion that language require
consciousness, even that analysis is misguided because you are
focusing on the computer, which is just one of the participants in
modern programming, whose connection with high-level programming
languages is thru literally dozens of layers of abstraction and
translation.  I am reminded of Catherin Hayles' notion of the
"flickering signfier".

> Linux is a software developped by various people who are trying to
> make it better. It is free to break microsoft market. It is
> operating in more and more companies.

Linux is Free, as in Free Speech, or Libre (as some french Free
Software hackers say).  It is not itself "free" as in beer, no cost.
It's price is indeed near zero since you can do whatever you want with
it (provided you do not prevent other people from using it).  But many
companies charge as much as several hundred dollars for packaging and
delivering it.

This is perhaps the most important aspect of Linux, and it is because
Linux is placed under the GPL, the "GNU General Public License"[2]
Anyone can take the source code to Linux, the programming language
text, and modify it, and redistribute it, provided they let anyone
else take their work and modify it and redistribute it as well.  The
aspect of programming as communication between programmers and users
becomes accentuated under these conditions, and indeed, easy to read,
comprehend and modify source code becomes more important in many
situations than code which works the most efficient, or speedily.

> We can say also that Linux Olswald had no artistic intention but
> technical intention. He's an engineer.

It is Linus Torvalds.  I don't follow your notion of a excusive
seperation between technical and artistic intention.  I also don't see
how being an engineer makes difference.  Does it matter that your web
page is splattered with explanations of you as the artist, and tells
the viewer that they are at an art web page, and they will do art
things, and interact with the art stuff in artistic ways?

> So how can we say that something is an artwork when the origin of
> this object is not and is not coming from this intention ?  May be
> by using the same way that Duchamp has done by saying: this is a
> ready made.  Today no artist has done this gesture regarding this.
> I heard only from only one field that linux is art: not artist,
> philosopher, critics, but from engineer and staff from computer
> industry.

The artistic dimension is your prolapsed anus, your insides fallen
thru your sphincter and dragging along the ground leaving a bloody
trail of mucus and shit.  In this putrid mess you will find the art
object, covered in turds and half digested corn.  You, as an "artist"
are welcome to it.


Craig Brozefsky                         <>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software
"riot shields. voodoo economics. its just business. cattle 
 prods and the IMF." - Radiohead, OK Computer, Electioneering

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