Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sure thing, Man. Or SURE THING MAN!

Side Note: Text in red was taken from, Dovetailing Details Fly Apart-All Over, Again, In Code, In Poetry, In Chreods. By Stephanie Strickland and Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo

For a traditional poet, there is a comparable need for awareness of historical, etymological, dialectical, regional, class-based, craft-based and musical aspects of speech and writing. Most poets begin with their mother tongue. Exceptions occur if they are natively multilingual like Gertrude Stein, or have chosen the language of their non-native home, like Beckett in French, or are writing in an ambivalently hated colonial tongue they aim to change from within, like Kamau Brathwaite or James Joyce. But a programmer chooses a language like a composer chooses instruments, for the things it does well or quickly, for its affordances, those fundamental properties that determine just how a thing could possibly be used. The code will only go as far as the programmer pushes it. Expert coders attain effects that artisan coders marvel at, not realizing until then that such work could be done in that particular coding language.

I completely agree with this. I further do not think pertains solely to the written be it in code or literature or art. Walking down the street there is an innate awareness in every human of the culmination of not only their history but of social history as a whole.

I do not agree with the idea of a programmer choosing a code like a composer chooses an instrument. I think that a composer chooses an instrument exactly like an author chooses a language, because of personal knowledge and desired effect. I don't think it relates to efficiency really.

This imperceptibility is referred to as 'transparence'. Interfaces called transparent allow us to interact/do what we're supposed to do without being aware of how the effects are obtained. We should perhaps speak instead about their opacity, given that we cannot see through them to the machine.

How does this relate to poetry? The idea that a reader does not see the length of time that has gone into a line but that they only see its end effect? I think that if a poem is written well, the length of time taken will come out, along with all else that went into it. In this way I do not see a correlation between poetry and code. There are many other places I do, but not here.

Though we have spoken, indeed, metaphorically of the 'life' of the program, it is not only metaphor. Mind enters world, not contained within skin, but as a circuit-loop feedback operation. [12] The living, and all living functions, are indissoluble from information-driven environmental loops which alone serve as units of survival. Animal mind, protected from 'real' impact by the physical world, negotiates its circuits by abstract, non-physically locatable, information.

I just think that's fucking amazing to think about. The idea that thoughts are not real until they are expressed. I would agree completely. The same exists with ideas not being real until they are tangible. It's all abstraction until it is able to be put into language or into code.

just man justices / just man just is, is

This just reminds me of something my friends and I do with the word "man." For example;
"That's a real drag, man." Or, "That-A-Real-DragMan!" Stoner speech can very easily be turned into really inventive super hero names.

As with poetry, syntax is not enough to keep code going. When code is compiled, it is read through by the compiler and checked mainly for syntax mistakes, but it is only in execution (the behavior, the running, the performance) that the programmer can tell if the code written is, indeed, accomplishing its intent. Only the original coder will be able to judge this, as the code may quite effectively be doing something else. It is the goal-oriented approach with which code is developed that ultimately drives a system of envisioning-thinking-writing-compiling-executing.

But Poetry does not always have a specific intent. It is sometimes an experimentation in interpretation or an experiment with multiple intents. The then layered notion of a programmed poem functioning it’s initial intent of looking correct (to the author on the screen) and it’s artistic intents of interpretation by an audience are two different things. Then again, how is this different from writing a poem with a desire for a certain aesthetic appeal? With line breaks in certain places or spaces in specific places. This can be difficult in a new interface or with a new program. For example, when I have tried to write poems in photoshop I don’t have as much success because I am not totally comfortable with the program and the code. I suppose this is the same I would feel trying to express my non-real creative intent in another environment such as painting for example. The same inert idea contained, for the author, in one medium may be impossible to display within another.

This is where translation, for example, fails.
El acento me pende del zapato;
Does not mean,
The accent dangles from my shoe;

Even here, in a very literal translation, intent is lost. Cultural reference is gone, as is language. Language choice, is intentional. To write within one code versus another is a choice based on the vernacular prowess of the author. This is also true within a language. While one might not contain the vocabulary of a Vallejo or Bulgokov or Leyner they can still completely express themselves. After all expression is done so with language and its manipulation. The extent of one’s expression is the extent of one’s ability to understand and manipulate the languages and tools at their disposal at the level of their understanding.

If one cannot function within a language then they will have a hard time existing in it. They will lurk in their thoughts, in code, unable to display themselves as tangible, as an interactable user face. In the same way, “Animal mind, protected from 'real' impact by the physical world, negotiates its circuits by abstract, non-physically locatable, information.”

This is not to say that one will not physically exist, they will. Don’t worry. But without the ability to communicate and without the ability for an author or artist or programmer or advertiser to express what is inside then there is in an improvable sense the notion that there is nothing to express.

In the same way that a child cannot express themselves, becomes frustrated, gives up and throws a tantrum so do we trying to express our art within a new program, perhaps without the tantrum. It is even frustrating for someone to truly be themselves, say, at a new job or in a new setting. One must, not to sound to punny, learn the code of conduct and how they can function within it.

Where innovation occurs in this is with the ability to conquer new codes and languages and settings and circumstances and be able to not only thrive within them but be able to use these things to express that next step. That place that before such language used to produce it and to make it affable or real (not just a lingering notion within the unreal mind) did not exist such ideas could not be actualized.

Thursday, March 5, 2009