ars03 .:. code ::: wobbeling along

ars logoars press conferencears symposium
in his opening speech gerfried stocker, the managing director of the ars electronica festival, quoted the recent SPD election-campaign in munich, germany: mehr linux – mehr freiheit. more linux – more freedom. this is of course a statement that could come straight out of the free software community. so code is making mainstream politics now. the code we decide to use has become a political decision – and more so than ever before .
the conference has started full on with a full day of speeches and discussions, most of it rather heady stuff, despite the fact stocker had pointed out, that the artist/scientist ratio is leaning much more towards artists than in other years.
but i don’t get it yet.
i wonder.
is it legitimate to use the word code almost interchangeably for all these different meanings, computer code, social code, aesthetic code, codex? ars electronica version 2003 seems to be missing some basic definitions of terminologies so far. and my next question: is this focus on code not an overemphasis on the software-side of things in? this focus in and of itself might be an illegit emphasis containing a value judgement as peter j. bailey pointed out in his talk. coders must be careful not to develop a god-complex as they seem to be the the one’s running things – the masters inside the machine. but code does not make machines redundant.
peter j. bailey’s talk [PDF] has then been the most inspiring one so far. he suggests that we should stop playing god and start to help the machines along to start doing their own thing. “if we get it right, code will merge with computers without any separation.” taking his inspiration from biology he calls for an evolutionary, natural code, with the ability to develop autonomously and in symbiosis with us, the coders. his futuristic call might be rather poetic and almost utopian, but some of the examples of software he showed were amazing, bubbeling environments of code reacting and adapting to changing an ever changing context.
the hgkz [zurich new media art school] exhibit of student’s works is amazing. the actual pieces are maybe even less important than the way they are exhibited here. the artwork is presented in a funky and relaxed way, media art presented with amazing low-tech/high-tech clashes. one machine called “Mami, ich will auch Super-Algorithmen” told me that my profession should be teacher and my hobby outrageous dance parties. now, there is some useful information….

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.