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<nettime> Filter and being (notes for NSF workshop on codework) - commen
Alan Sondheim on Mon, 3 Mar 2008 11:42:33 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Filter and being (notes for NSF workshop on codework) - comments greatly appreciated -



Filter and being (notes for NSF workshop on codework - comments
greatly appreciated!)


I want to generalize writing and coding as _inscription,_ and
emphasize that the world as we know it is already inscribed, encoded
and decoded. The lifeworld isn't analogic and / or mute; it's discrete
and presencing.

One way of thinking about this is in terms of _filtering._ The usual
model of information - transmitter/(channel|noise)/receiver (and
so forth) - implies that there is a form of coherency and, if not
comprehension, at least 'mutual orientation of cognitive domains,'
between sender and receiver. I'd argue that this orientation occurs
through filtering which is always present, fuzzy, and possessing a
political economy of its own.

Filtering isn't active or passive, inscribed or inscribing, and
informa- tion itself is non-existent, nothing, a form of particulate
matter with an ontology derived from organisms and apparatus.

Once we start (or end) here, writing splits; on one hand it becomes
_wryting_ - a state of material transformation, transmission, and
reception; and on the other, it becomes malleable, a spew interpreted
as symbols. Here is the moment of creative freedom which also splits -
on one hand into or through unbounded, rule-less 'creative' writing,
drawn from an organism's interior - and on the other, a fuzzy
collocation of coding, languages, kludges, protocols, drawn equally
from interior impulse and external restraints (economic, etc.) or
goals that may be transformed in the process of inscription.

To misquote David Finkelstein, one might consider programming as
fucking with/in a universe of abstracted ontologies, and creative
writing as masturbation-fantasy, moving just about anywhere, anywhen.
Both, however, have inscription and filtering in common and neither
presents or is pure 'presence' within the world. On the other hands,
both meander among rules, although with differring obeisance, and both
have, at their core, a freedom that is as absolute as anything gets.

How can this be useful pedagogically? In terms of creative writing,
the answer is, I believe, to think of texts as both intentional,
cohering, and as material objects which are always already filtered;
this leads to thinking about filtering and different forms of
filtering as creative writing practice. In terms of programming, not
being a programmer (but working with programmers), I'm not sure; I'd
argue that, for an outsider, filtering appears at the interstices
or liminal spaces between program and framework (inputs, outputs,
interfaces, hardware (in the traditional sense, and in the sense of
information-laden substance), and so forth). And I'd want to look at
the phenomenological horizons of programming, not only through this
filtering, but also within programs and programming in general: Where
is the programmer in the midst of her subroutine? And where is the
freedom then/there?



( New video: http://www.alansondheim.org/machine.mp4 )






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