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Old 03-12-2017, 12:48 PM   #101
MrWookie
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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Originally Posted by zikzak View Post
Still waiting for somebody to present some code and defend its artistic merits (appreciate goofy's contribution, but lol not art).
Uh, I think goofy's example is pretty obviously art, or else you have to rule out as art a number of things widely considered art. It may be bad art, or simple art, or whatever, but there is lots of bad art out there that is still art.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:58 PM   #102
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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Only if it was the work of an artist. Otherwise it would probably count as a feat of engineering.

We are too fixated on the object rather than the intention.
As an example, chez may remember the furore created when Carl Andre exhibited a pile of bricks in the Tate gallery a few decades ago, with people objecting that a similar pile of bricks in their front garden wouldn't constitute art.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:41 PM   #103
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

Duchamp covered all of this in 1917
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:44 PM   #104
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

Is it splitting too many hairs to say that programming can be an "artistic" pursuit in the sense that one may find an aesthetic value in the code, concepts, or logical organization of a program, while recognizing those aesthetic elements as a product of human creativity, but that a piece of software is usually not "art" in the sense that it is not intended primarily to be enjoyed aesthetically?
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:49 PM   #105
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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Still waiting for somebody to present some code and defend its artistic merits (appreciate goofy's contribution, but lol not art).
Well, what is 'art'?

That's obviously a YMMV type of question. If you tell me whatever it is you feel is 'art', I'm sure I can make a case that (Levy) hacking is that.

Above, you are missing the point however. Let's say you feel noise can be 'art'. Well, are you willing to defend a pile of sheet music as 'art'? Or, is the 'art' in what that sheet music means (composition), and how it is used to make noise (performance)?

Or, cartoon images are commonly considered things that can be 'art'. This extends to cartoon movies. Shouldn't this also be extended to interactive cartoon movies? Do you feel adding hacking is a disqualifier for being 'art'?
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:52 PM   #106
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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Duchamp covered all of this in 1917
And as usual, Duchamp was right.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:22 PM   #107
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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... a piece of software is usually not "art" in the sense that it is not intended primarily to be enjoyed aesthetically?
Of course not. Most paint is sold to coat buildings, not canvases. Some other important points...

If you don't (Levy) hack you're not going to see the (purported) art. Not anymore than a blind man can appreciate a painting. Sure, colors and be described. But, someone who is blind from birth might feel this whole color-thingee is gibberish.

The (alleged) media is a media of motion. Programs gotta run. Just like jazz needs to be played. Nobody writes a program to do nothing... that's been done already. So all programs, necessarily, are going to have some other purpose than pure aesthetics. Architecture is in the same boat.

There's zero market for popular audience hacking. Well, that's not quite true, as some (criminal stunt) hacking is done as a sort of performance art.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:26 PM   #108
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

I both hacks and sees the art, fwiw.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:26 PM   #109
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

Can programs then be artists themselves and then their output be art?

My answer is of course between 'Yes' and 'it depends on how words are being defined'.

But I would still consider their creator an artist in their own right.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:42 PM   #110
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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Uh, I think goofy's example is pretty obviously art, or else you have to rule out as art a number of things widely considered art. It may be bad art, or simple art, or whatever, but there is lots of bad art out there that is still art.
I will concede it is facile "art".

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Well, what is 'art'?

That's obviously a YMMV type of question. If you tell me whatever it is you feel is 'art', I'm sure I can make a case that (Levy) hacking is that.

Above, you are missing the point however. Let's say you feel noise can be 'art'. Well, are you willing to defend a pile of sheet music as 'art'? Or, is the 'art' in what that sheet music means (composition), and how it is used to make noise (performance)?

Or, cartoon images are commonly considered things that can be 'art'. This extends to cartoon movies. Shouldn't this also be extended to interactive cartoon movies? Do you feel adding hacking is a disqualifier for being 'art'?
There is a pretty well understood consensus about what is and isn't art, even if there is plenty of arguing on the edges and multiple overlapping uses of the word. Things like math and programming fall on the "no" side for most people in most circumstances. If somebody wants the word to apply to aspects of those fields I think the burden lies on them to make the case, with examples rather than hypotheticals, and those examples need to convince some significant portion of some preexisting arts community, whether it be creators, critics or patrons. Getting a bunch of code monkeys to all agree with each other about their own artistic talents isn't a winning argument.

What's more interesting to me is why some fields so desperately want to use that word for themselves. I understand why janitors want to be called sanitation engineers. It makes a crappy job sound important. But society values programmers and software developers much higher than artists. These are people with important, in-demand skills that are paid very well. What the hell do they feel is lacking in their lives that they need to adopt the label of "artist" to improve their social lot? Being an artist sucks. They're always broke. Nobody respects them. Nobody takes their work seriously. Going to art school brings shame on your family.

What is the point of calling everybody an artist if they occasionally do something vaguely creative at work? ****ing Subway calls its minimum wage employees "sandwich artists". It almost seems like the goal is to use the word so widely that it no longer has useful meaning, making the generally crappy status of true artists even crappier.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:54 PM   #111
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

zikzak: It's interesting to me that you seem to be approaching the question from the standpoint of social status. I.e in that being well payed and being identified as "engineers" means programmers already enjoy high social status, whereas artists are generally both poor and low-status.

I don't think, for the most part, that programmers are wanting to call themselves "artists". I don't think it's a bid for higher social status either. I think the closest analogy is just the way mathematicians talk about maths as beautiful. The point that some code monkeys have an overinflated sense of their own importance is well taken, but I think technical jargon illustrates that point much better than discussions of the "art" of programming :P

Anyway, for most purposes I wouldn't call software art or programmers artists, and I don't think there's any need to persuade you that they are, but I thought your framing of the question was interesting so I responded to it.
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Old 03-12-2017, 03:31 PM   #112
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

Programmers are clearly not artists, and if arranging some code in a window so that it forms the outline of a human body (for instance) makes them artists then so is the barman who uses the tap to make a picture of a clover in the top of your pint of Guinness.

Both of those things fail Burgess's test of "Does it attempt to say anything about man's relationship with the external world?", abjectly.

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Old 03-12-2017, 03:42 PM   #113
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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Originally Posted by jalfrezi View Post
As an example, chez may remember the furore created when Carl Andre exhibited a pile of bricks in the Tate gallery a few decades ago, with people objecting that a similar pile of bricks in their front garden wouldn't constitute art.
Rightly or wrongly, most dont expect art in a museum to be something that anybody can do. Some have a suspicion that it's the product of the sort of artists who should spend a penny at Duchamp's fountain.
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Old 03-12-2017, 03:46 PM   #114
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

Is NASCAR a sport ?
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Old 03-12-2017, 03:47 PM   #115
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

Anybody clearly can't do it though, because only an artist would have thought of doing it in the first place.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:35 PM   #116
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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... There is a pretty well understood consensus about what is and isn't art... the burden lies... need to convince some significant portion of some preexisting arts community...
Well sure, if you feel 'art' is whatever's in the Arts Section of the newspaper, (Levy) hacking isn't 'art'. I think we all already knew that.

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... What the hell do they feel is lacking in their lives that they need to adopt the label of "artist" to improve their social lot?... What is the point of calling everybody an artist if they occasionally do something vaguely creative at work?...
Folks who create visual ad copy as a wage earning job are called 'commercial artists', so that use is out there. But to +1 what [b]well named wrote, AFAIK wage earning programmers aren't looking to be called commercial artists too.

What's lacking in their life, if you want to put that way... or we could just be pointing this out for you folks amazement... is that there is the same kinda aesthetic dynamic possible as we see with the 'art' in the Arts Section.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:47 PM   #117
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

It's the idea that craft of a certain quality can transcend the mundane. When you call what some does 'art' that isn't you're calling them a master at their job.
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Old 03-12-2017, 05:02 PM   #118
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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zikzak: It's interesting to me that you seem to be approaching the question from the standpoint of social status. I.e in that being well payed and being identified as "engineers" means programmers already enjoy high social status, whereas artists are generally both poor and low-status.

I don't think, for the most part, that programmers are wanting to call themselves "artists". I don't think it's a bid for higher social status either. I think the closest analogy is just the way mathematicians talk about maths as beautiful. The point that some code monkeys have an overinflated sense of their own importance is well taken, but I think technical jargon illustrates that point much better than discussions of the "art" of programming :P

Anyway, for most purposes I wouldn't call software art or programmers artists, and I don't think there's any need to persuade you that they are, but I thought your framing of the question was interesting so I responded to it.
I'm not necessarily stating that is definitively the case, I'm just trying to understand the why of it all. There can clearly be great beauty in math and great creativity in an algorithm. Nobody is disputing that. But these are widely understood by most to not be art, so what are the reasons behind the push for an expanded definition that is widely rejected? Something is desired. What is it?
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Old 03-12-2017, 05:25 PM   #119
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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What's lacking in their life, if you want to put that way... or we could just be pointing this out for you folks amazement... is that there is the same kinda aesthetic dynamic possible as we see with the 'art' in the Arts Section.
In your opinion, perhaps. That opinion is not widely shared, so either your side doesn't understand the Arts Section, or my side doesn't understand the potential for creativity and beauty in technical fields. I suspect it's a whole lot of the former and not much of the latter.

If you're in the camp of people who don't "get" the arts, that's OK! Many don't! But it's a tricky starting point if you want to make claims of artistic value.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:25 PM   #120
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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... your side doesn't understand the Arts Section, or my side doesn't understand the potential for creativity and beauty in technical fields... If you... don't "get" the arts, that's OK! Many don't!...
I get the Arts Section, as in what's in -vs- what's out. Again, I don't think that's really in question.

I guess I don't '"get" the arts' if you mean a substantive difference between the activities that are featured in the Arts Section -vs- technical fields with regard to potentials for creativity and beauty. Where does set design end and architecture begin?
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:42 PM   #121
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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The Atlantic appears to be trying to troll this thread...
This guy lost me when he got to here:

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A giant product like a spreadsheet or a reservation system was still something like a bridge or a building: It had to work right, especially since patches and revisions were expensive and required physical intervention. Such cases require an engineering approach, while trying one’s hand at a program for upload to the local BBS (or the modern app store) does not.
So programmers were engineers, they're just not engineers anymore because bugs are easier to patch.
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:01 PM   #122
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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I get the Arts Section, as in what's in -vs- what's out. Again, I don't think that's really in question.

I guess I don't '"get" the arts' if you mean a substantive difference between the activities that are featured in the Arts Section -vs- technical fields with regard to potentials for creativity and beauty. Where does set design end and architecture begin?
Whether it's Art or not depends who's doing the set design. When Dali did it for the film Spellbound it was Art because he was an artist, but a stage designer is a craftsman so his designs wouldn't be Art.

You can continue the whataboutery until you've covered every endeavour of man and still be none the wiser at the end of it if you think it's about the activity rather than the intention (ie the artist).
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:02 PM   #123
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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I get the Arts Section, as in what's in -vs- what's out. Again, I don't think that's really in question.

I guess I don't '"get" the arts' if you mean a substantive difference between the activities that are featured in the Arts Section -vs- technical fields with regard to potentials for creativity and beauty. Where does set design end and architecture begin?
If you're talking about what's in and what's out I think you're reading the fashion section. The differences between set design and architecture are their fundamental functions. I'd rate them about equal in terms of artistic content, and would say that both fall short of being pure art.

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Art is a pretty broad term, but I'd expect there to be a human emotional component.
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The bold is a key reason why math is NOT art. It does not speak to the human condition, nor is it informed by it.
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Both of those things fail Burgess's test of "Does it attempt to say anything about man's relationship with the external world?", abjectly.
Do any of those quotes make sense to you?
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:14 PM   #124
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

We need an example.

Artist Richard Long used to exhibit photographs taken of walks he'd undertaken.

If you or I go hiking and document parts of the walk in unremarkable photographs we wouldn't call it art, but it is when an artist does it. We might think it's bad art, but nevertheless it's still art.
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:53 PM   #125
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Re: The Art of Computer Programming

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Anybody clearly can't do it though, because only an artist would have thought of doing it in the first place.
I was referring to the execution with as much poorly executed wordplay as I could manage - that's a bit of an art as well.
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