I don’t know anything about coding. The parallels of programming to brain function are lost on me and I have no idea how google.com translates to zeros and ones. I can hardly write on a blog. As you can imagine, this week’s discussions have been difficult.
In reading the Hayles, I started thinking about the different ways we perceive language. Some is imperative, some is speculative, some is expressive, some is just casual—yet language is nothing without interpretations by the brain. Intention is not inherent in the written word. Coding, however, is intentional. There is neither superfluous language nor room for interpretation. What is represented by the code is exactly what the code is to represent.
So what happens when we attempt to read (into) code? We find ourselves examining the composition of the program, rather than on the interpretation of a written text, in order to grasp its intention. The example used on rhizome.org was the I/O/D Web Stalker program, which displayed websites by their internal control code. For most, these codes are indecipherable but point out the inherent hierarchy of codes that build up to function. But I would offer a counterpoint to this: what happens if you transpose the relationship between code and function? Can code be written for code’s sake? Can it be excised from function without losing purpose?
For those who do not know it already, my example is jodi.org , a piece done in 1995 by Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans. View the source code. (⌘ U)