Barbara Lattanzi on 15 Jan 2001 17:08:28 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Code as (literary) text

Greetings to Soeren Pold.

I just read your message to Nettime.  I then also read the English version 
of your dissertation abstract at your website, especially section 4 
("Writing the Scripted Space") which I found extremely interesting.

Unfortunately I am not directly tied into any larger movement of Open 
Source activism.  But my own work, incorporating code writing to a high 
degree, makes me very aware of the issues that you outline in the 
dissertation abstract and in your message to Nettime.

It occurs to me that this sensibility and cultural politics is tied to the 
subcultural genre of computer game patches.  As you write, "literary, 
absurd, hacker-humour still can lead the codes of media reality 
astray".  There is an archived issue of the Switch journal on-line which 
deals with game patches as art form.

I am also interested in interactivity as the performance of code.  This 
entails the construction of software "engines" (versus simple visual or 
audio display instructions), where the code imparts "behaviors" to the 
audio and visual output. Such "behaviors" are dependent partly on the input 
of the viewer-interactor, but also dependent on internal (non-visible, 
non-audible) "communication" between software objects that is also occuring 
in a dynamic, generative way, affecting the totality of the work.

To make that internal machine (virtual objects) communication available, to 
open source it, is a function of the invention of cultural forms.  The work 
of Vuk Cosic is relevant here, I think.

Perhaps jazz (if not making "ice cream for everyone"... thank you Simon 
Pope, et. al.) is a worthwhile analogy, for the way its forms resonantly 
textualize their sound and open source their structures..  not polemically, 
but through example?

best regards,

Barbara Lattanzi

At 11:36 AM 1/15/2001 -0500, you wrote:
>Dear Nettimers,
>I'm interested in possible ways to discuss open source as a literary approach
>to software - hackers as writers who view software as text and not commodity -
>open source as a movement fighting to preserve the right to read and write 
>software (as text). It seems to me like an obvious approach, though I haven't
>found much work done with such a literary approach to programming (but 
>I've overlooked something). If you know anybody else working with such issues,
>please inform me or the list!
>About my own work: My background is in literature, and I've just written a
>dissertation on relationsships between literature and modern media (from 
>the 19
>c. panorama to cinematic and digital media). I have a few articles out in
>English, but the dissertation is in Danish - however, you can find an English
>abstract at my homepage.
>**************** Ny adresse, email, telefon- og faxnummer ******************
>**************** New adress, email, fax and phone number *******************
>Soeren Pold, adjunkt (assistant professor)
>Multimedia Studies & Comparative Literature
>University of Aarhus                    Office: 5341.121
>IT Parken                               phone:  +45 8942 5654
>Aabogade 34                             fax     +45 8942 5624
>DK-8200  Aarhus N, Denmark              email:
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