> The abstract infinity becomes more important than the sensually perceivable finite piece.
Whoa! Jon, this is the phrase we should have tried to get on the back of the dust jacket of Re-Collection: Art, New Media, & Social Memory.
Samek Art Museum
Lewisburg, PA, 17837
On Jul 9, 2014, at 1:13 PM, Frieder Nake wrote:
> (Am I doing this right, do I correctly address those who are listening to, and taking part in, the current discussion about keeping and preserving or even re-animating digital things considered to be of aesthetic qualities?)
> Jon Ippolito, on the 2nd of July already,
> send a message of beautiful thoughts in nice formulations that I want to take up a bit at least, even though I should first continue reading how others have reacted. So I take the risk of repeating what you have read before.
> Towards the end of his post, Jon takes up two topics: memory vs. storage, and Re-Code as a currently appropriate form of reverse engineering.
> The young people who are leading the Re-Code movement have a great idea and are lovingly friendly to many of us. They say, early computer art is bound to disappear because its physical substrate, the hardware, is already extinct, and where it is not, it will soon be. Correct. Therefore, they say, we must reverse engineer (not their word) the programs that were running on small dinosaurs of machines and generated those works. If we do it, their expectation is, in Processing, we stand a chance to keeping the work. I am not so sure. But I like their approach, nevertheless.
> 1. As long as the re-coded software depends on some particular operating system, or some particular programming language, chances are that te re-code will be obsolete again in ten years or twenty.
> 2. In my particular case (which is, of course, not interesting at all), I have published flow-diagrams of quite a number of things I have done. Flow-diagrams are a high-level and totally machine-independent notation. Together with some educated human memory it would not all too difficult to re-code.
> 3. In other cases, where you have, perhaps, a few images that serve as instances of the class of images a program may once have been standing for, it is virtually impossible to come up with a re-coding because the function is just too complex to conjecture. We do know from mathematics, that in many cases the inverse function to a function just is not possible to find. I claim that, without some extra hints, my programs of 1966 and 1967 cannot be reversed.
> On the other hand! Recently, in a discussion with the two collaborators in my project "The Algorithmic Dimension in Visual Art", we discussed about certain visually rather simple images by Max Bill, based on a grid and playing in intelligent ways with color. Our question was of this kind:
> »Here we see an image and we see quite clearly how Bill constructed it. Let us describe the abstract class to which it belongs.«
> This is always possible in nicely inventive ways. You usually come up with classes (and this is, a program) that do contain the given image. But if they are executed, it will usually take trillions and zillions of years before the original Bill re-appears.
> So we can give a perfectly well-formed new form for the old piece, a generative one, and we know the old piece is contained, but it is unrealistic to wait until it appears.
> Observations of this kind have led me to say: The art in the algorithmic work of art is the class it belongs to. The abstract infinity becomes more important than the sensually perceivable finite piece.
> Prof. Dr. Frieder Nake
> Informatik, University of Bremen, PO Box 330440, D-28334 Bremen, Germany
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