Microcodes

Launch Mircocodes

Microcodes are very small code-based artworks. Each one is a fully contained work of art. The conceptual meaning of each piece is revealed through a combination of the title, the code and the results of running them on a computer. As programs they may be copied, distributed, modified and used under the terms of the GNU General Public License v.3 or (at your option) any later version

On artists that write code and artists that do not
Pall Thayer
July, 2008
Regarding "code" as a medium (once again). I think we have to look a ways back in time to get at the
real issues here. We could almost say that differing opinions regarding artist's use of code are Marshall
McLuhan's fault but I think it's actually the way that his work has been taught in new media art programs that
is at fault. McLuhan talks about media as the end mediator. That which delivers the "message" to the
consumers and because of the way this has been taught, that has become the "defacto" definition of a
medium even within the arts. However, that's the exact opposite of older definitions of media within an art
context. An artist's medium used to be the material that he/she manipulated to deliver a message. Both are
equally correct but occur at opposite ends of the scale. A medium is simply something that occurs in between
and can occur at any point between the artist and the viewer. Netart and the way various artists have
approached it has made this whole "system" a bit more complex.

Amongst the median elements of a work of netart we have things like; code, concept, network, computer,
screen, etc. It's important to determine what the "medium" is because as McLuhan tells us, that's the
"message". One thing that really makes this complicated is that, as an artist who writes code, I don't think
that "my medium" is the same as the "viewer's medium". My medium is the code. That's what I shape and
manipulate to convey my "message". The viewer's medium can be something else. It could be the Internet or
the computer or the screen, depending on how they regard the work. It could even be the code as long as I
reveal it. But I'm not really in a position to dictate to the viewer what they may or may not refer to as "the
medium". That's dependent on their own experience. Regardless, whatever I consider as "my medium" has a
big impact on the nature of the work itself. In many ways it defines and guides the creative process.

Artists who produce netart but rely on collaborators to write code for them, will naturally produce different
types of work. The code is not their medium and therefore doesn't "define and guide the creative process".
Something else does. This does not produce a qualitative difference, just a difference.
This is why it "matters" whether an artist writes code or not.

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