For my last, but not least, posting, and after all these exciting and rich exchanges, I just want to come back and insist on the notion that is important for me : it is the relation between art and technical process. In the precedent posting, I wonder how scientific invention and art invention can go both together for representing systems , for symbolic forms, and in final for social invention, as a sort of way of life.
In our times, in which technology can be largely involved into the art creation, I propose a reflection about the links between writing systems and the technology. I think that for the invention, and for its high quality, technological conception has to be closed of cultural history.
This reflection is about digital systems and the writing, and it is a part of my conference at ISEA 2008.
All forms of expression, all languages, can now be produced or processed by digitalization or the digital. Thus writing, as I intend it, is affected, and creation along with it. Bernard Stiegler, the french philosopher of technology, says that computing can be considered as a new form of writing. It is therefore necessary to understand the way these technologies function, how technè and logos are linked, what their logic is, and how we can use this new alphabet.
How does a computer program process data ? How do computer codes and languages interact with other sorts of codes and languages ? How is the result perceptible on a computer screen ? How is this information given out and transmitted, how do they materialize ?
Independant of the data handled or the processes carried out on this data, the computer program is a combination of binary numbers, called bits, represented by 0 and 1. To create a program, it is necessary to combine a certain quantity of 0 and 1, and also to associate these numbers to external data, what we call coding the data. This allows us to process it. The coding and the program do not appear on the screen, though they determine the existence of what appears. What is visible or audible? Its digital or digitalized material, in the form of data, with which the code, then the program are associated.
So, the problematic of data process languages is the one of double language.
The data process, by its digital component, creates a separation between the support and the surface : the programm that transmit the processed informations and these datas, are not from the same field of language. For example, a data process programm of texte or image keeps being discretly a numerical system.
We have to do with a double language, concomitant, but from which the logic and the meaning are different and autonomous. The informationnal paradigm of each of them has got its own system. Their adjustment into the data process system is only a technological one, and not a semantic one. And there is no direct transparency for the computer user. It is a double language that it acts as an internal way to the computer.
We can notice that this situation is completly different from analogical technologies, which don't create the forms by itselves, but which record them and reveal them, or reproduce them : photography, cinema, recorder, for example. Concerning the new technonologies, the internal process to make out signs, or the formal traces, is one of their specific aspects. This potentiality situates the signs, or the forms, into an own referential system. And this is at the interconnexion of the handling of the bits and its results that will be generated the forms of the digital system.
So we can affirm that in computing and the digital, languages are juxtaposed. Functionally, technically, and semiotically. Data is processed by programs, meaning thousand year-old representation systems group together with recent computer languages, language-machines.
How does their logic coincide ? What makes sense or sensation ? Is it possible to control these anachronisms ? Does the machine's functionalism dissect or reduce the symbolic power of anterior languages? How can we work within these constraints ?
Concerning NITC, computer and digital systems, data processing will determine representation. The program's writing, whatever its programming language or information to be processed, is equivalent to the sculpture of forms. The display, or the form it takes, will be marked by the computer programmer's, the author of the program's "cutting". It is with such an intent, arranged in the program, that the base of the writing shall be situated.
The writing is considered as an intention, experienced as tension between the material reality of elements exercising an enthropic biological and morphologically tautological action, and an organization of the biological material system, meaning a manipulation of the objects, that could produce a different order, presenting a formal apparence distinct from the material order.
The role of artists and authors is important and even crucial in the new writing systems, and I think it has to be closed to the technological conception. In the situation and at the time of digital medias, we have to consider the technical supports of the writing in the relationship with the symbolic forms, that is what artists work on. It is necessary to elaborate a structuration in order to create a specific and open system of writing, as well as to produce a symbolic richness in these new forms of representation and communication. The physical possibilities of the material, here the digital, are some elements that have to go both with the writing, because they build as well the formal aspects, and so the representation, and at the end, the meaning.
So, we have to pay attention to the history of writing systems and to look at its evolutions and changes. We have also to integrate in our minds that writing, I repeat again, has now a multimedia dimension.
I cite one more time Bernard Stiegler saying that "the history of the genesis of works of art cannot be dissociated from the history of the technical supports".
In this way, my position is not only an aesthetic critic, but this an input for a cultural politic in the field of the technologies and digital medias, included in a communication and information society.
Thanks to you all, and see you soon on Yasmin list or somewhere else
Thanks to Roger for this discussion
L'Actu se rhabille sur Voila.fr ! http://actu.voila.fr/
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