Monday, January 14, 2008

Conceptual Art and Software Art: Notations, Algorithms and Codes, Thomas Dreher

I. Instructions and Operations of Observing

Concepts are be presented as

verbal instructions,
instructions with algorithmic disposition,
machine-readable notations (with algorithms in programming languages).

I.1 Dada

Well-established rules bound artists to certain forms of presentation (f.e. art media like painting, drawing and sculpture). The Dadaists problematized and transgressed these rules. The introduction of materials without linkings to artistic or literary rules and inconvenient uses of precoded elements confronted contemporaries with the limits of their horizons of expectation. Some works consisted of verbal instructions which asked for unusual realizations.

In 1921, Tristan Tzara published «Pour faire un poème dadaïste» 1 as an instruction to cut the words of a selected newspaper´s article with scissors and to shake the scraps in a bag. The poem is an accidental sequence caused by repeated pulls of the scraps out of the bag. Via chance operation the creator recreates himself 2 – in Tzara´s words – as "a writer, infinitly original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar" («un écrivain infiniment original et d´une sensibilité charmante, encore qu´incomprise du vulgaire»). In this remark Tzara constructs a relation between chance and originality which upsets expectations to the author´s role and oeuvre: If chance operations are used consequently as poetic device then poetry can´t be anymore a case for specific literary capabilities but becomes a case for the reader´s "operations of observing" 3 – with the consequence that each of these chance poems allows the reader to discover originality and to become a producer whenever he wants to be one. The reader´s ascription of qualities, which are recognizable in texts generated by chance operations, to literary qualities of authors is featured as a problematic procedure: Tzara overstates ironically the usual ascribing manner not without already to have circumvented the expectations concerning creativity and individual style with his instruction for a literary production realizable by everyman.

If readers enter an URL-adress in Florian Cramer´s net version and receive its text material in new combinations generated by a chance operation reconstructed via Perl then the technical production ought to be declared as "a writer, infinitely original". After all, the reader will understand himself lesser as a producer of a text than as a player with the programming code.

In 1932, Man Ray drew a metronome which puts the cut-out of an eye´s image in oscillations. He wrote the instruction for the object´s production on the backside of the drawing: The image of an eye belonging to a beloved person who left the observing field of the executor ought to be selected and the assemblage realized with a metronome ought to be destructed with a "well-aimed" hammer. 4

With his instruction for an assemblage´s con- and destruction Man Ray detached a private case from its specific circumstances. Man Ray´s object related surreal procedure releases a theatrical moment meanwhile Tzara´s chance operation not only renunciates this exaggeration but counteracts it by the denial of an artistic control. In both cases the unity of the author as planner and executor has been replaced by a procedural and personal division between conception and realization. In the choice of the language the instructions show few artistic characteristics and Ray´s drawing presents a model for realizations in a factual illustrating manner. No specific skills are demanded from executing persons. Furthermore, both instructions offer no specific scopes for creative interpretations via interesting concepts for realizations. Verbal calls can be set in post-dadaistic instructions to stimulate the imagination of the reader-interpreter and contingently to provoke inventive concepts for realizations: Interpreters can fill out the void places provided for them (see LaMonte Young: Composition 1960 #3, 1960, chap. I.2).

I.2 Fluxus

The members of the group Fluxus, founded in 1962, find new manners to write instructions by using tensions between Tristan Tzara and Man Ray and, furthermore, between Dadaism and surrealistic transformations of dadaistic procedures. These manners can refer to specific events and objects using procedures comparable to Ray and they can leave the execution to chance operations comparable to Tzara.

A short notation of the "theater of the single event" 5 consists of some words on "event cards" which provoke executors to add descriptions with specifications. Realizing persons can try to perform theatrical-emotive moments as well as to execute non-theatrical operations. In either case a realizing person has to plan a manner how to proceed with the execution or to write a notation for the executive acts. This executive plan makes the verbal notation of the "event card" realizable except he wants to remain a reader restricting himself to imaginative realizations of the notation´s text (It is possible to protocol mental realizations).

John Cage featured notations which included provocations to invent concepts for realizations when he presented in 1956-58 for example his graphic notation for "Fontana Mix" (1958) 6 on 12 transparent sheets and 10 drawings to his students at the New School for Social Research (New York). The instruction for the use of the sheets describes how they can be laid on top of each other and offers some cues how the graphic signs can be translated into sound producing procedures. But for interpretations concepts have to be developed by realizing persons which organize the translation of graphic signs with detailed methods. The verbal notations, written in Cage´s class under others by the later members of Fluxus George Brecht and Dick Higgins, contain more detailed instructions but the short texts hand many decisions over to the realizing persons.

On a card titled Word Piece Brecht noted nothing more than "Exit" (Spring 1961). The following realizations are possible: the imagination of an exit; a demand to leave the room or to walk to the exit; the choice of an exit or a shield refering to an exit; the writing of the inscription "exit" on stabile or transportable material supports; the call to quit or the quitting of a room; and, finally, the removal or affixing of an exit shield. Brecht put the performing practice in "Fluxfests" with "Word Piece" to the test: George Maciunas pointed out that the most consequent event notation needs no realization "since it happens daily without any `special´ performance of it." Brecht´s "Fluxversion I" (a concept of a realization) for "Fluxfests" reads as follows: "Audience is instructed to leave the theatre." 8

In 1960 and 1961, two meta events offered the conceptual framework for events. La Monte Young prescribes in "Composition 1960 #3" (1960) nothing more than a protagonist who should ask each attender to perform whatever he wants within a time framework determined by himself:

Announce to the audience when the piece will begin and end if there is a limit on duration. It may be of any duration.
Then announce that everyone may do whatever he wishes for the duration of the composition. 9

In 1952, John Cage´s notation for a multimedia happening at Black Mountain College 10 afforded time frames to be filled by interpreters following their own imaginations. La Monte Young abbreviated this notational manner to the basic concept and substituted the composer´s fixing of time frames by decisions of participants. Within the relation protagonist – executing/performing public the hierarchy composer – interpreter of Cage´s notation with time frames is repeated in a translation on the level of the execution of the preformance: The relation between the action´s leader and its participants becomes a problem of the realization.

In Summer 1961, Tony Conrad terminates the problems of realizations in "Concept Art" with the following instruction:

to perform this piece do not perform it. This piece is its name. This is the piece that is any piece. Watch smoke. 11

Conrad renunciates not completely instructions for operations of observing but they don´t lead to visible actions (resp. operations of observers): Readers ought to direct their attention to smoke when and wherever they will see it. These examples demonstrate three aspects of "Conceptual Performance" 12:

The written planning liberated from conventions of art media and notations.
The highlighting of the relation planning – realization prompted the problematization of the execution as a realization of actions or objects.
The relation notation – operation of observing is demonstrated on the one hand parallel to possible realizations as actions or objects and on the other hand as a substitute of these realizations: Notations can be realizable in no other way than as operations of observing.

I.3 Conceptual Art

In Conceptual Art texts as works thematize operations of observing. The list with aspects of "Conceptual Performance" in the preceding chapter summarizes characteristics of examples by artists of Fluxus and allows to add a fourth point:

4. Texts of and as works instruct to operations of observing and describe with it procedures of thinking.

Joseph Kosuth presents in "The Seventh Investigation" (Proposition One, 1969-70) a meta-instruction for analytic steps of observing. Presentations are among others a billboard in Chinatown/New York and a flag over a street in Torino. 13 After the think instruction´s abstraction from site specific contextual conditions it is possible to use any presentation context as a new test for the work´s text. The text explains operations of observing as directing the attention to aspects of situations and then to abstractions from the outer world: Does this abstraction offer a precondition to be able to return the attention to the outer world without fixations on precoded observing attitudes?

In 1970-1973, Victor Burgin presents detailled instructions to realize operations of observing in texts printed on paper and pages of books. 14 The texts test the memory of the reader with references back to the preceding numbered steps.

Burgin´s and Kosuth´s texts describe operations of observing without regards to art-specific or aesthetic manners of observing. Conceptual art turns "art observation" into "world observation". 15

The conceptual text instructions for operations of observing provoke readers to adapt them to a specific site, for example to the context of the text presentation. Burgin presents the text as its own context via internal references and thematizes the interpenetration of external and internal referenc(s) as a relation between different contexts. The external references are formulated in a generalizing manner and the text can be transfered into different contexts. The references contain situational parts as well as memories.

The verbal instructions of Burgin and Kosuth provoke recipients to get involved with present and memorized contexts, with their own observations. However, with their demonstrations of the relation between concept and context, the artists took over again the control of the realization. Aberrant from Fluxus and with the ascent from the semantic openness of the short notation to the relatively detailled and abstract meta-instruction, in Conceptual Art the manner of the work´s text presentation became again a problem often controlled by artists, because it determines at least a part of the simultaneously explicit and provoked contextualization.

II Meta-Art

In the context of art, Fluxus and Conceptual Art provoke discussions about the theme if the status of a work ought to be ascribed to the concept or to its realizations. At the issue are established restrictions of artistic labour to certain forms of presentation. The acceptation of restrictions imposed by the rules of established art media is doubted by concepts whose executions can be realized by the artists as well as by other persons because the realizing person must not possess certain skills. Furthermore, the goal of a realization must neither be an object nor an action. 16 The result of artistic production may be the text itself which can refer either on a discoursive level to a theoretical problem or on a descriptive level to an object of the imagination or on a descriptive-instructive level to a realizable process and to an executable object.

The self definition `as art´ poses permanent problems to an art defined by concepts because the problems of art theory concerning the expansion of established determinations of art media (f.e. for object art) to new derminants are detached by the release of normative prescriptions. 17 Art needs the "meta-art" for the capability to define itself new. Within this process it has to avoid the trap of normative new determinations: "Meta-art" ought to reflect its own plurality permanently for the sake of its conservation. The articles written by the British and American members of the artists´ group Art & Language discuss this problem especially from 1969 to 1973. 18

The fifth aspect of "Conceptual Performance" can be summarised as follows:

5. As "meta-art" the text of a work thematizes the problems of a non-normative self definition of art.

III Concepts and Forms of Presentation

III.1 Notations in Serial-Conceptual Forms of Works

In 1963, Henry Flynt´s article on "Concept Art" was published in the anthology of Fluxus by its editors Jackson Mac Low and La Monte Young. 19 Flynt proposes to concentrate oneself on the notation and to ignore the interpretation or execution. He wanted to proof "how limited, impoverished the structure" of Serial Music is: The notation is thematized as a form of presentation. Flynt bundels (in hist text and with his examples) serial, diagrammatic and instructing-describing notations as well as theories under the term "concept". He renounces an answer to the question if these notations and theories ought to be signified `as art´ or not.

In 1966, Mel Bochner demonstrated in "36 Photographs and 12 Diagrams" the conceptualization of serial structures by the integration of notations into the form of presentation. 20 Diagrams are drawn with tubular drawing pen. The numerals from "1" to "4" are inscribed on the fields of a grid with 7 x 7 squares. Under each of the 12 diagrams hang three photos presenting combinations of wooden squares in the noted combinations. The wooden cubes are photographed in three perspectives – from above, from the front and obliquely from above.

Two levels commenting on each other are constituted by the variations of the cubes´ combinations and of the points of view of their representations. A relation of tension arises between two modes of reading, if the diagrammatic and photographic expositions mark an absent referent or if they substitute this referent. In the last case the studio staging of the wooden cubes was only a means to receive certain photographic characteristics. Then the diagrams are not comprehended as plans for the combinations of wooden cubes, but as keys for the seeing and reading of the photos. The wooden cubes are momentary parts of a studio set for the photographs, not permanently available elements of exhibitable sculptures.

Since 1966, Sol LeWitt accompanies presentations of his series with three dimensional combinations of stereometric elements ("Serial Project, No.1", 1966 21) with explications of the system for the generation of variants, diagrams and two dimensional features of wall variants. Since 1968 LeWitt presents series with geometric elements for two dimensional works ("Drawing Series 1968 (Fours)", since 1968 22) in artists´ books (and in publications controlled by the artist 23) with indices (numerals) in diagrams which offer a survey of all variants.

Following LeWitt, the concepts of the series ought to be worked out before the realization in a way which excludes the necessity of further decisions in the process of executing the series´ parts:

When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art...the artist would select the basic form and rules that would govern the solution of the problem. 24

Since 1969 LeWitt projects "Wall Drawings" as verbal instructions for realizations on walls with arbitrary sizes. In spring 1973 LeWitt started to use a new system of instructions in the verbal notations from the series "Locations of [Points and] Lines". 25 The system utilizes firstly the divisibility of the sides and lines via bisections ("midpoint") and secondly lines connecting the resulting points and the bisections of these connecting lines ("halfway between", "half the distance") for instructions as manuals how executors can proceed with the construction. The system allows to localize points and lines on oblong planes of arbitrary sizes. The executed process of the realization is as well reconstructable as repeatable if the text of the work is presented next to the execution: The text is an instruction and a description at once.

Since Winter 1973, LeWitt integrates instructions in realizations of "Locations" of several lines. Since 1975 the text of works is integrated in circles, triangles, rectangles, parallelograms and trapezoids which are the parts of realizations of "Locations of Geometric Figures". 26 The text of the concept can´t be placed without problems into the "geometric figure" which was constructed following the text. If the letters shouldn´t be written in an arbitrary little size then the text may need more place than the localized `figure´ is able to offer within its outlines. This problem is solved by writing over the outlines of the figure. This kind of writing the instructions into the figures makes it possible to realize several concepts on one wall and excludes the oberver´s search which concept can be related to which one of several located `figures´.

LeWitt and Bochner utilize a combination of explicit rules described in the concept with rules presented implicitly in exemplary realizations controlled by the artist.

With the introduction of diagrammatic and verbal concepts into the form of presentation Bochner and LeWitt thematize relations between "conception" and "perception" (s. ann. 24). Bochner and LeWitt introduce the concept at once as a basic and a partial problem of their presentation mode connecting visual observation with reading processes. In Bochner´s and LeWitt´s works interpenetrating processes of `seeing´ and `reading´ range from the deciphering of the "structure" (Flynt, see above) of visual sequences to text-image-combinations. The apprehension of a serial structure requires an interplay between protension and retension: A reading process structured in the dimension of time is needed for visual perception. The text-image-combinations are the result of the concept´s integration as diagram and text into the presented work. These combinations permit a `reading´ of the concepts which offer insights into a serial syntax. The insights facilitate the observer´s visual (re)structuring of the realization: Correspondences between `reading´ and `seeing-reading´ emerge.

In Conceptual Art a spectre can be differentiated from interpenetrating processes of `seeing´ and `reading´ to processes of reflexive reading: from `seeing-reading´ (Bochner, LeWitt) over `reading´ (f.e. wall presentations of Lawrence Weiner´s verbal notations) to the thematization of reading processes in `reading-reading´ (Burgin, Kosuth) and its reflexion in `reading-reading-reading´ (reflexion of reflexion or "reflexivity", Art & Language, see chap.II). 27

III.2 Verbal Notations and Programming in Generative Art

Generative art can renounce to use static output media: The unfolding of the program code as a computing process is observable. The program code is distributed via internet.

In 2003/2004 Rob Myers refers with the title of his work "The Cybernetic Art Nobody Wrote" 28 to a work of Harold Hurrell who was a member of Art & Language. His text work "The Cybernetic Art Work that Nobody broke" 29 was printed in 1969. It presents a set of rules which explains the functions of an installation. Via the input of the values "0" or "1" in two fields "A" and "B" ("type either 1 or 0 in both A and B") text outputs can be directed which assign a colour to the input or connect the indication of the impossibility of an assignment ("you have nothing") with the call "obey instructions". A reactive light installation with four colours is replaced by an instruction which explicits the function of a text input and the manner of a text output ("you have red/green/blue/yellow") step-by-step.

The supposition is obvious that Hurrell conceptualizes reactive light installations f.e. by Yaacov Agam, Hans Haacke, François Morellet and Bruce Nauman 30 as nothing else than as variants of a computer with functions for in- and output. 31 Here Hurrell demonstrates the consequences from "Fluidic Device", a booklet published in 1968 by the Art & Language Press. It presents a photograph of an installation with two integrated gas cylinders and explains the function of the installation in a diagram: A gas output is produced which can´t be detected because the compression is too low. A computer print lists the possibilities of the switching system ("Logical Truth Tables"). 32 Meanwhile for example Amy Goldin criticized in 1972 technological experiments as too "simple" for the perception with the senses and irrelevant from aesthetic as well as from conceptual points of view 33, Hurrell reduces in "Fluidic Device" the sensual aspect to `indeed present but only reconstructable as function´ and concentrates himself in "The Cybernetic Art Work that Nobody broke" on the descriptiveness of a comparable function in algorithms (s. chap IV.2). Hurrell follows Flynt´s approach (s. chap. III.1) and exposes a set of rules for a class of possible installations: Aspects of the visual perception and of aesthetics are renounced in favor of the presentation of switching functions.

However Myers pursues the opposing way: A LISP version offered via "sourceforge" for download and an installed net version in Flash generate verbal concepts. Their descriptions provide rough sketches for the production of images with figures on grounds realizable as program codes or paintings. The verbal notation is chosen by Myers as a detour for the invention of visual structures. 34 With the relation between his reference to Hurrell on the one hand and the resumption of the verbal formulated concept of an image similar to LeWitt´s strategy on the other hand Myers reopens in "The Cybernetic Art Nobody Wrote" the tension in Concptual Art between theoretical models on the one hand and a renewal of abstract art via conceptualization on the other hand. Myers prefers the last one and combines it with traditions of computer art – with stochastic texts and an "algorithmic aesthetic". 35

In 2004, Casey Reas demonstrates in his project {Software} Structures 36 on the Artport platform for net art of the Whitney Museum of American Art how LeWitt´s verbal concepts for "Wall Drawings" are usable as suggestions in a search for visual structures in Generative Art. Monitor images developing in different speeds are the result of codes written in the programming language Processing based on JAVA, furthermore in Flash MX and C++. However, contrary to the notations of the examples by Bochner and LeWitt described above, the source code is presented separately as text.

In a part of his project Reas presents five – three static and two animated – translations in Processing of three "Wall Drawings" developed by LeWitt in the seventies and eighties (1981). The arcs and circles of Wall Drawing #106 are modifiable with clicks on the generative translation 37 and cause a series of models for possible executions on static material carriers. Reas developed three further examples (#001, #002, #003) with the help of verbal concepts which are stimulated by LeWitt´s notations for "Wall drawings": Reas worked out verbal concepts as the first step of the development without regard to the problems of programming. Then followed concepts for executions in different programming languages: Reas, Robert Hodgin, William Ngan and Jared Tarbell modified the third example (#003) with Processing. The implementation with Processing has been reconstructed with C++ (Casey Reas) and Flash MX (Jared Tarbell).

The transformations in different programs and the availability of these source codes via internet created problems which the contributing artists described on pages for comments. One point of discussion was the considerable deceleration which Flash MX caused in the cases which demanded to generate several elements simultaneously:

Software with hundreds of elements all performing intense calculation (e.g. Software Structure #003) runs so poorly in Flash that the intent of the work is destroyed. 38

Long waiting times for recognizable changes (like f.e. Jared Tarbell´s Flash-Version of Structure #003A) belong scarcely to the positive characteristics of digital generative art. Therefore links lead to Flash variants with fewer elements (Flash version of Structure #003A with 20 elements). The versions programed in C++ are only available as files for downloads. The elements are programed in C++ with great efforts and they unfold themselves faster than the Processing variants.

The diversification of firstly a verbal concept, secondly the open source code in different programming languages and thirdly a monitor´s presentation of the computing process provokes in "{Software} Structures" a modification of the concept´s function explained by Flynt in "Concept Art": The concept as a plan and the concept for executions readable by computers (resp. the program code) constitute two levels for a work´s text: The feedback to the (structure) of a "conception" heightens the attention to aspects of the "perception". The presentation of the "conception" helps to develop further the processes of unfolding: The works get the position of exemplary presentations of the possibilities to use program codes in Generative Art.

IV Instruction, Algorithm and Code

IV.1 Psychogeography and Instruction

In 1958 Guy Debord referred in the second issue of the «Internationale Situationniste» to a sociological research of Chombart de Lauwe 39 which recorded the tours of a Parisian student statistically: Tours between her domicile, university and the piano teacher have been especially frequent. 40 The program on "unitary urbanism" of the "Lettristic International" («L´internationale lettriste», 1952-57) and the Situationists (1957-72) provided the abolishment of "divisions like labour – collective leisure – private life" and suggested a "total unity of the human environment". 41 Alienation via appropriate affluent production ought to be removed by a "complete communication" and "ludic creation". 42 «Dérive» navigated by chance in urban spaces and protocols of these excursions counted as a first step to abandon externally determinated urban experience and to dedicate oneself to the "ludic creation" via "psychogeography". 43

George Brecht proposes in "Direction" "to observe a sign indicating direction of travel" and to decide "to travel in the indicated direction" or to choose "another direction". In 1963, George Maciunas wrote to Tomas Schmit to adhere reproductions of a found print with a hand indicating a direction to many places in Nice. 44 At a sufficient density of adhered prints with hands a psychogeographic urban walk is possible which follows sometimes these signs and sometimes not, and then finds other signs.

In 1955, Guy Debord mentions rambles in the Hercynian Forest. The itineraries were found with a map of London (s. ann. 43). This method was practiced in contemporary psychogeography for example by Social Fiction in city walks. As an alternative to this method Wilfried Hou Je Bek, a member of Social Fiction, wrote .walk in 1001 the form of an algorithmic structured instruction and as a generative psychogeography:

1st street left
2nd street right
2nd street left

The navigation with the help of chance operations in the real urban space is executed in .walk by a reduction of the city map´s function to a repeatable basic element.

In 2005, Curt Cloninger constructs in Psychocyberographic Memoirs > Let Four Fingers Do The Drifting (Rhizome, 7/30/2005) "meta-instructions" for the execution of instructions to surf in the internet: The instruction contains nothing else than the call to find rules for the navigation in a computer aided or manual manner. Observers are on the move via "psychogeography" exclusively in the data space. A detectively data searching man is changed into a "data dandy" 45 with flaneur-like passages through websites. This dandy constructs himself instructions for surfing via chance operations in the internet.

For Cloninger the writing of instructions and realizations of these instructions are two executive steps as consequences of one artistic instruction. Brecht instructed firstly to arrange the signs with indications of directions and to take care that they can be perceived, and secondly to decide if the indication will be followed or not. Brecht as well as Cloninger start already in the instruction to divide the realization in phases. Brecht´s "event card" is not precise in an algorithmic kind meanwhile Cloninger provokes concepts for realizations which ought to be as precise as it is necessary for net navigation, and Social Fiction´s ".walk" would be unattractive if it may not be algorithmic precise.

IV.2 Conceptual Software Art

In mathematics and informatics, the term "algorithm" designates an instruction which describes a task precise and completely in several steps. The computer scientist Paul E. Black defines an algorithm as "a computable set of steps to achieve a desired result." 46 The psychogeographic examples with instructions for the creation of repeatable processes (Cloninger, see chap. IV.1) and for procedures to be repeated several times (Social Fiction´s ".walk", see chap.IV.1) demonstrate that notations can be structured algorithmically for the task to create unpredictable results. Therefore an algorithm is a precise stepwise structure of a repeatable instruction but its results are not definitely predeterminated although definitions in natural sciences prescribe them as that.

The criterium for the completeness of the instruction excludes some works explained above – like for example Bochner´s included concepts and LeWitt´s "Locations of Geometric Figures" with inscribed verbal notations (see chap. III.1) – from the classification as algorithmically structured notation because both artists don´t explain all parts of their rules for executions. LeWitt´s verbal notations for "Locations" are precise stepwise descriptions for the localization of points, lines and geometric figures, therefore they are algorithmic minus the inscription of the concept´s text into its execution.

After the instructions without and with algorithmic structures follow now examples for Conceptual Software Art and its presentations of algorithms in programming languages.

Self describing and self documenting 47 respectively self replicating codes, so-called Quines, are models for the function of programming languages and as such conceptual counterpieces to Algorithmic Aesthetics: Instead of rules for the generation of visual effects following aesthetic criteria 48, models of reflection are constructed which are able to provoke delight via the kind of demonstrating problems how program codes can be constructed as self documentations.

Joseph Kosuth´s neon text Self-Described and Self-Defined (1965) designates a main feature of modern thinking. Art critics of the "formal criticism" or "modernism" like Clement Greenberg and Michael Fried referred to a self referential and self determining modern philosophy. In 1969, Kosuth attacked the "formal criticism" in the first part of "Art after Philosophy": He juxtaposed their pleas for a visual-formal self-referentiality in opposition to the propositional character of Conceptual Art. Meanwhile Kosuth´s "Self-Described and Self-Defined" merely acclaims self reference and self determination without demonstrating self referential sign functions in the relation of the text and the form of presentation as he exposes it in other works with neon and glass since 1965 49, self documenting codes present in their output the code who conducted (and conducts) the output: Via self replication, they are at once executing and self-documenting. At 1994, Craig S. Kaplan wrote about the problems posed by the constructions of self documenting programs because they should not lead to an infinite regress of "print" commands to output the preceding "print" command (Kaplan, s. ann. 47, chap.4):

It has to be the program and the description of the program. It has to be the use and the mention. It has to form a closed loop on itself. In this sense, you could never just start writing such a program. You would have to compose the entire program at once in a conceptual leap. (Kaplan, s. ann. 47, chap.3)

Alex McLean´s (2001) presents the relation between programming code and computer in an exemplary kind via Perl script. The observer starts "" in the command line, enters a value for the strength of the bomb and views on the monitor sequences of the ciphers "0" and "I" ("print") which indicate different phases of the computing process acting out a "while" construction. The "fork" emulation clones the actual Perl interpreter and executes it in a separate thread. The computer processes the "while" loop with "fork"-emulations until the resources of the system are exhausted by the repetitions of identical processes. 50

The code serves no other end than to undermine itself the conditions of computing processes which keep it running; it computes for a termination of computing operations. This is a negative version of the reference from computing processes to computing processes. The relation between code and computer is presented with a negative result but exactly this lifts it on the level of being a model.

"Forkbomb" can be presented permanently only external to a running Perl program as text readable in relation to its computer capabilities.

The different versions of "Forkbomb" realized by precursors in the hacker context since the midst of the fifties 51 as well as by Denis "Jaromil" Rojo (for UNIX-systems) and by Radim Kolar (for Linux) present models for the exhaustion of the system´s resources which in turn can be understood as models for the functioning of the relation code – computer. The affirmation of self documenting program codes is substituted by a negation refering to the presupposed affirmation: The exhaustion of the system´s resources is not possible without a start of computing processes and their repetitions.

In 2001, at the 49th Biennale di Venezia, epidemiC and spread the code of the virus on postcards, T-shirts for 15 $ and on 10 silver CD-ROMs as limited collector´s edition for 1500 $ in the Slovenic pavilion. The virus can spread out in computers with a Python installation functioning properly, therefore it can´t find an environment for operations in the usual context of personal computers. In the Slovenic pavilion, a computer presented the virus but the public was not able to key in anything. 52

The virus reports the names of the programming groups and designates itelf as the first virus for Python. If the virus finds files for Python (.py and .pyw) then it copies itself (with the exception of the files in "/dev" and "/proc" folders) and indicates itself ("print"). This harmless damage can be fixed by erasures of the virus´ code out of affected Python files following epidemiC´s instruction. Producers of antivirus software have been informed over "". is able to present the self replication of codes as an indulgent virus function, containing possibilities of programming: So far it was the intention of epidemiC.

The reproduction for the art world as limited CD-ROM edition serves to attract attention. Also the edition demonstrates the different conditions of the distribution in the context of exhibitions and computers: The limitation of the edition heightens the prize and demonstrates how far the rarity of the carrier is estimated in the art world instead of concepts or codes. Since decades the problem is well known in the context of the art trade: Even if notations with verbal instructions for example by Sol LeWitt and Lawrence Weiner are published then certificates and other carriers of the concept designated as unique or as limited as well as realizations by the artists (which are realized or ought to be realized by artists executing the buyer´s order) are desired in the art trade. With their restaging of the stylization of transportable objects as commodity fetishes (practiced by the art trade) points to the opposition between the digital possible self replication of the virus code and the art world in whose context the CD-ROM is a rare trade article. However it refers to a medial context not defining free replications as an emergency situation. Both contexts, the art world and the networks, illuminate each other in the exposition of the virus at the Biennale.

The three presented examples of Conceptual Software Art operate with different kinds of self replication.

V Code as Medium

V.1 Conceptual Performance

The "Conceptual Performance" of the sixties and seventies is renovated by the following developments of an actual art thematizing instructions and programming codes:

from the work´s text to the program code as text presentation (s. chap. IV.2);
from the verbal concept as an instruction for realizations to the verbal sketch for realizations in programming languages (see chap. III.2);
from the verbal concept as an instruction for actions to the strategic instruction for actions in the dataspace (see chap. IV.1);
from models for the criticism of the art world exhibited within the criticized context and index systems of Art & Language for the self documentation of (theories of) the "theoretical parctice" 53 (see chap.II) to Open Content platforms with discussions, texts and activistic tools for a legally and economically motivated criticism of the contemporary net and software conditions (Sourceforge, OPUS Creative Commons, EFF, RTMark, Creative Commons, Copyleft Attitude, Illegal Art, ODEM).
Here is apprehended as presentation which not only adds its characteristics to the presented but makes possible specific kinds of observing by using its media conditions (including distribution and reception).

The reference from the presented back to the (conditions of the) kind of presentation is conceptual meanwhile Lucy Lippard, Jack Chandler and Jack Burnham featured between 1968 and 1973 the decoupling of the presented and the kinds of presentation as a paradigm of the conceptual 54: Artistic strategies to work with notations appeared in the art context of the sixties and seventies as a break of the artistic labour not only with established art media but with carriers and the usable art-external media, too. Speculations about this break appeared more persuading than trials to investigate the technical and medial conditions of the conception, the presentation and the distribution of the notations. The notations of Fluxus prove the dependency of the verbal concepts on carriers and distribution possibilities (per mail, as object of an edition, as book print). Actual discussions about the performativity of program codes (see chap. V.2) don´t leave aside medial relationships or downgrade them as of secondary value and this altered perspective on medial conditions excludes the acclamation of a new trend of "consciousness art" ("Bewußtseinskunst"). 55

In a letter to Lippard and Chandler, Terry Atkinson criticized their article "The Dematerialization of Art" published in February 1968. Following Atkinson the decoupling of the kind of messaging and the message (resp. media qualities and the content) didn´t constitute the foreground of the contemporary production of art especially in the case of Art & Language to whom he belonged but the displacement from `seeing´ to `reading´: "...the idea is `read about´ rather than `looked at´." 56 The differentiation presented above (see chap. III.1) from `seeing-reading´ in serial-conceptual art to the reading of a third order (`reading-reading-reading´) in "meta-art" (see chap. II) follows Atkinson, not Lippard/Chandler.

Today all the material or immaterial conditions influencing performance ought to be understood as media – independent from their classification as immaterial or material. Dematerialization, consequently named as demedialization, is not only inappropriate in the case of Software Art but was never a serious proposition. Dematerialization is a methodical and not a historical problem: Florian Cramer´s differentiation in the fifth of his ten theses between a dematerialized Conceptual Art and an art using software as material ought to be valued as a thought experiment. Unfortunately, Cramer takes seriously the art crticism of the sixties and seventies as a background for the differentiation of actual problems in his experimental design as if these critics didn´t explain the former problems to handle the provocations of Conceptual Art. 57 Dematerialization as a method for the give-up of the classical studio labour of the artist as painter or sculptor was not accepted by artists like Atkinson who substituted the studio labour by text production.

V.2 Algorithmic Signs

Inke Arns interprets program code as "illocutionary" following the speach act theory communicated by John Langshaw Austin in lectures delivered in 1955 at the Harvard University. 58 "Illocutionary acts" cause some effects in the performance meanwhile "perlocutionary acts" provoke a temporal delay between the performance of a speach act 59 and its consequences 60:

Program code distinguishes itself in that saying and doing come together inside it. Code is an illocutionary speech act...capable of action, and not a description or representation of something, but something that affects, sets into motion, and moves.
Program code is characterised by the fact that here `saying´ coincides with `doing´. Code as an effective speech act is not a description or a representation of something, but, on the contrary, it directly affects, and literally sets in motion - or it even `kills´ a process. 61

On the one hand Arns presents program code as readable beyond machines with regards to its "object", the eventually later executable code conversion. On the other hand she characterises the code not as "perlocutionary", but as "illocutionary". The situation of the program code´s in computing processes becomes an exclusive model case although the readability beyond machines gains importance. Therefore the characteristics of the program code in- and external to computing need to be described as possessing "per-" and "illocutionary" properties within Arns theory design.

The analogy between characteristics of speach acts and codes readable by machines satisfies only as an auxiliary construction because the parts broken out from speach act theory need a reconstruction for the digital context. 62

Frieder Nake´s concept of "algorithmic signs" 63 for the characterization of the use of signs in computing operations helps to outreach the framework of speach act theory: Nake´s term characterizes

first the difference between signs in symbolic interaction (communication, discourse) and its use in program codes for the navigation of computing operations, and
second the observer´s operations with this difference by the preparations for navigation, by the observation of computing operations and in the use of computing results:
Software ist einerseits Text, andererseits Maschine. Sie ist Maschine nur als Text, als Text also, der wirken kann, als wäre er selbst Text als Maschine also, die gelesen werden kann, als wäre sie Schrift...Software weist Merkmale von Maschinen auf und weist sie nicht auf. Nur in Funktion weist sie sie auf; in Ruhe ist sie beschreibender Text...Software ist naturgemäß weder das eine (Text) noch das andere (Maschinen). 64
Software is on the one hand a text, on the other hand a machine. Software is a machine only as a text, therefore it is a text, who can operate, as if it is itself a machine...Therefore a text as a machine and is readable as if it is a scripture...Software shows and shows not characteristics of machines. It shows these characteristics only in function; beyond computing it is a descriptive text...By its nature, software is neither the one (text) nor the other (machines).

Peter Brödner, Kai Seim and Gerhard Wohland characterize with the term of the computer as a "semiotic machine" (only as that and as nothing else) 65 the elements used by computers as machines – signs and not materials – as well as the role which these signs with their characteristics to be products of machines can gain in communications: After their preparation in computing processes, these signs stand for the function of segments in semiotic processes after their preparation in computing processes and for the integration into wider processes. In my opininion, the definition of software as "an engineering product as well as an arrangement of signs" 66 and the differentiation of "reducing transformations" causing "algorithmic signs" (Nake, see chap. V.3) by following criteria of "semioticisation", "formalization" and "algorithmization" 67 pursue further than the usage of the speach act theory´s terms in contexts without speach acts.

Against the background of the computer´s function as "semiotic machine" and the usual functions of Software it is Software Art which attracts our attention by concentrating it on the program code itself. This focalization of the attention provokes the recognition of the code´s pertinence as a text readable by machines and a navigation of computing processes, as a configuration of "algorithmic signs" and as a medium of its own 68 (with the context of self replication).

V.3 Digitalic - Digital

In "Languages of Art", Nelson Goodman discusses analog and digital schemes and systems. 69 In "Language, Sign, Interpretation" ("Sprache, Zeichen, Interpretation") Günter Abel refers to Goodman´s differentiation as he writes about "analogic and digitalic signs" ("analogische und digitalische Zeichen"). He uses these terms in his "description of the field of perception and cognition" ("Beschreibung des Perzeptions- und Kognitionsbereichs"). 70 Abel´s differentiation between "analogic and ...digitalic fancy/force of imagination" ("analogische und ...digitalische Einbildungs/Imaginationskraft") 71 allows in the following context a distinction between on the one hand the cognitive play with differences of analogic-pointing and digitalic-saying signs 72 and on the other hand the technical digital.

In "The Matrix of Sensations" 73, Donald Kuspit tries to rewrite the history of modern art since Impressionism as an avant-garde not only anticipating but already possessing digital properties whereby he tries to uplift his confusion concerning the characteristics of the digital and the digitalic to a system of art theory: Behind, alongside or instead of the play of the forms of presentation between analogic and digitalic characteristics appears the notation with "algorithmic signs" ignored by Kuspit.

In "36 Photographs and 12 Diagrams" (see chap. III.1) Mel Bochner combines the analogic-pointing of the photographs with the digitalic-saying of the diagrams not without adding other possibilities of the `seeing-reading´ to the analogic in the context of the digitalic. In the texts notating "Locations of [Points, Lines and Geometric Figures]" (1973-76, see chap. III.1) LeWitt renounces Bochner´s interplay between the diagrammatic-digitalic and the analogic-pointing. The "Locations" consist of a precise system for descriptions allowing executions on carriers of all sizes: The digitalic concept anticipates the actual Generative Art in its appearance beside the presentation generated by the rules of the notated text. Generative Art offers an analogic-digitalic spectrum of a process of unfolding 74 and parallel to it a digitalic-textual presentation of the program code. This code can be read during, before or after the observation of the unfolding structures (the presentation of the program code and its generation `side-by-side´).

Conceptual Software Art accentuates the double character of "algorithmic signs" (see chap. V.2) as digitalic and technical-digital by the exposition of the program code as a text readable for humans and machines. The conceptual quality is to find in the reference within the digital textual to the technical digital without any further level of the presentation than a text output: "Algorithmic signs" are presented exemplarily in the smallest difference between the start of computing internal functions and a readability external to computing operations, between program code in action and its presentation as text. In Conceptual Software Art appear "algorithmic signs" – in Nake´s terminology – as the focus of an "internal interpretant" (resp. observer and his reconstructing operations) onto "reducing transformations" claimed by the "causal interpretant" (resp. the computer and the sequence program code - input - computing process - output). 75

The digital context is thematized by the model cases offered by the examples of conceptual Software Art presented above (see chap. IV.2). This context is presented by these examples in its own consequences simultaneously practically and exemplary: exposition without transposition. In Conceptual Art the transposition of the ready-made from its use in the daily life to the museum is substituted by the conceptual-reflexive self-embedding into the context. The given context is chosen as the theme of the presentation´s investigation. The "museumization" was already a phenomenon of everyday life as Conceptual art presented itself as Context Art and Art & Language thematized the into the "institution of art" 76: The museum´s exposition of consumer goods can´t answer to the commodities in the shopping mall and its window displays 77 in any other kind than as . The totality of the spectacle in commodity markets and museums was appreciated too extensively by Louise Lawler, Ange Leccia, Jeff Koons, Allan McCollum and Haim Steinbach. Conceptual artists began much earlier to plan information systems implicating and provoking interactive fields. 78 Therein they anticipated the consequences of the combination of telecommunication and the digital computer in the internet which became the application area of software for open databases/platforms: The interaction resp. the dialogic must not anymore be claimed by the positioning of the reader between textual parts of the information system 79 but is practiced because it became possible with the help of new technical possibilities. The reader is embedded into an interactive field. The possibilities which he receives to be able to move within this field constitute chances for self-embedding into the context of the project. The reader reacting to dialogic offers removes the ideal consumer as subject and observer of Context Art.

The examples of Conceptual Art by Burgin and Kosuth (see chap. I.3) thematizing operations of observing provoke readers to their independent conceptual reconstructions exactly by their stepwise direction: The close guidance via the structure of instructing steps and the abstraction of specific references tries to point readers to a mental openness for various contexts, thoughts and memories by calling them to construct contextual references to situative occasions and reminded events. Autonomous systems with differentiated levels are constituted by a stepwise reduction of complexity via abstraction. These closed systems are open to external contexts via their internal differentiations but these kind of systems is not included in Software Art: The orientation to the technical digital, to the "causal interpretant", leads away from the autopoiesis of cognitive processes to the problems in digital contexts: The "difference of identity and difference" and the "interpenetration" of "system and environment" (resp. concept and context) differentiating the system by the "re-entry" of earlier excluded parts 80 is substituted by the replication of identical elements as a basic computing procedure causing interesting program codes and being able to provoke surprising and irritating processes in digital contexts.

The algorithmic reducing transformation causes in ".walk" the effects of a chance generator: The notation is the technical means for an "experimental dérive" 81 stimulating operations of observing but it doesn´t guide or limitate them contrary to the chains of instructions by Burgin and Kosuth which provoke cognitive processing. The passage from Conceptual Art to Software Art leads from a frequently autopoietic orientated "world observation" of Conceptual works 82 to a "media observation" 83 offering with its concentration on "algorithmic signs" an interior refraction (between technical practices and theoretical consequences) for the applied digital (trans-)medium.

Back to the point of departure: In the history from art media to notations and program codes, the "three reducing transformations" leading – as Nake writes – "out of the world to the software" have their counterparts:

The verbal instructions exemplify the "semantic transformation".
The instructions with algorithmic structures present "syntactic transformations" as a "formalization" with algorithmic anticipations.
The presentations of machine-readable program codes demonstrate the consequences of "algorithmic transformations" (see ann. 75).
Notations lead to the semantic and syntactic "reducing transformations" and are proceeded by notations with "algorithmic transformations" (like Hurrell in "The Cybernetic Art Work that Nobody broke", see chap. III.2) which prepare the exposition of the program code in conceptual Software Art. The history of the notation in Intermedia Art can be written as a prehistory of Software Art – and reversely: Software Art appears as a continuation of non-digital "reduced transformations". 84


1 Concept 1920, in: Tzara, Tristan: Dada manifeste sur l'amour faible et l'amour amer, Kap. VIII. In: La Vie des Lettres. Nr.4/1921. New in: ib.: Oeuvres complètes, Vol.I. Paris 1975, p.382 (see sheet 3 of the file with illustrations containing all illustrations for this article: ppt with 9 MB and pdf with 11 MB). back

2 Masculine forms like "he" or "himself" stand for female forms like "she" and "herself", too. Only practical reasons caused the decision to use masculine forms as placeholders for feminine and masculine forms because sentences with forms like "she/he" or "(s)he" and "her-/himself" complicate the reading. back

3 "Operations of observing"/Beobachtungsoperationen: Luhmann, Niklas: Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft. Frankfurt am Main 1997, p.537ss. back

4 Hultén, K.G. Pontus: The machine as seen at the end of the mechanical age. Cat. exhib. The Museum of Modern Art. New York 1968, p.153; Mileaf, Janine: Between you and me: Man Ray´s Object to Be Destroyed – Cover Story. In: Art Journal. Spring 2004. URL: p/ articles/ mi_m0425/ is_1_63/ ai_114632847/ print (11/13/2005).
In the surrealistic special edition of the journal "This Quarter" (Vol.5/no.1, Spetember 1932, p.55) the text was printed under the illustration of the drawing. back

5 Young, La Monte, in dialogue with Barbara Haskell, 7/7/1983. In: Haskell, Barbara/Hanhardt, John G.: Blam! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism and Performance 1958-1964. Cat. exhib. Whitney Museum of American Art. New York 1984, p.53 with ann.89. Compare Nyman, Michael: Experimental Music. Cage and Beyond. London 1974/second edition 1999, p.74s.,83. back

6 Cage, John/Neuhaus, Max: Fontana Mix. In: O´Doherty, Brian (ed.): The Minimalism Issue. Aspen No.5-6. Aspen/Colorado 1967. URL: aspen/ aspen5and6/ fontana.html (11/13/2005). back

7 Hendricks, Jon: Fluxus Codex. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, Detroit, Michigan. New York 1988, p.193.
Brecht, George: Word Event, Spring 1961. Event Card. In: Brecht, George: Water Yam. Fluxus Edition, since 1963 (Conzen, Ina: Art Games. Die Schachteln der Fluxuskünstler. Sohm Dossier 1. Staatsgalerie Stuttgart 1997, p.22ss.,47,51s., nr.19-29). Compare Robinson, Julia/Fischer, Alfred M.: George Brecht. Events. Eine Heterospektive/A Heterospective. Cat. exhib. Museum Ludwig. Cologne 2005, p.66-69,88,333, cat. nr.31s. zurück

8 Unnamed author: Fluxfest Sale. Fluxfest Information, Fluxfests, New York 1966. In: Dreher, Thomas: Performance Art nach 1945. Aktionstheater und Intermedia. Munich 2001, p.124, ill.15 (compare p.123,126s. on "Word Event", see ann.7); Sohm, Hanns: Happening & Fluxus. Materialien. Cat. exhib. Kölnischer Kunstverein. Cologne 1970, unpaginated. back

9 Dreher, Thomas: Performance Art, s. ann.8, p.120 with ann.221; Haskell, Barbara/Hanhardt, John G.: Blam, s. ann.5, p.55, fig.57; MacLow, Jackson/Young, La Monte (Hg.): An Anthology...New York 1963/second edition 1970, unpaginated. back

10 Cage, John: 45 min. Concerted Action/Theatre Piece No.1, 1952. In: Dreher, Thomas: Performance Art, see ann.8, p.57s. with ann.100 (with further bibliographical notes); Duberman, Martin: Black Mountain. An Exploration in Community. New York 1973, p.370-379; Nyman, Michael: Experimental Music, see ann.5, p.25,72. back

11 George Maciunas: Diagram of Historical Development of Fluxus and Other...Art Forms (incomplete), offset, two sheets of paper, 1973. In: Schmidt-Burkhardt, Astrit: Maciunas´ Learning Machines. From Art History to a Chronology of Fluxus. Cat. exhib. Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin 2003, p.123. back

12 "Conceptual Peformance": Dreher, Thomas: Performance Art, see ann.8, p.252ss. with ann.465. back

13 Kosuth, Joseph: Art Investigations & since 1965. Cat. exhib. Kunstmuseum Luzern 1973, vol.3, p.63-73; Shanken, Ed: Art in the Information Age: Technology and Conceptual Art. In: Leonardo. Vol.35/no.4. San Francisco 2002, p.435. URL: e-journals/ Leonardo/ isast/ articles/ shanken.pdf (11/14/2005). back

14 Burgin, Victor: Work and Commentary. London 1973, unpaginated (f.e. "All Criteria", 1970). back

15 "world observation" ("Weltbeobachtung") and "art observation" ("Kunstbeobachtung"): Dreher, Thomas: Performance Art, see ann.8, p.26ss., 407-448. back

16 "realization" or "execution" includes the selection of found objects and found processes. back

17 Dreher, Thomas: Kontextreflexive Kunst im Kunstkontext.
Plurifunktionale und mehrschichtige Bild- und Diskursmodelle. In: Institut für soziale Gegenwartsfragen, Freiburg i. Br./Kunstraum Wien (eds.): Art & Language & Luhmann. Vienna 1997, chap. Status Kunst, p.44-48. URL: 3_Konzeptkunst_Art_Lang.html. back

18 Dreher, Thomas: Blurting in A & L: Art & Language und Kontextinvestigation. chap. II.1. In: Art & Language: Blurting In A & L online. URL: d/ invest_context (11/14/2005). back

19 Flynt, Henry: Essay: Concept Art. In: MacLow, Jackson/Young, La Monte (eds.): An Anthology, see ann.9, unpaginated. New in: URL: aesthetics/ conart.html (11/14/2005). back

20 Bochner, Mel: Thought Made Visible 1966-1973. Cat. exhib. Yale University Art Gallery. New Haven 1995, p.14,117s. Compare Dreher, Thomas: Konzeptuelle Kunst in Amerika und England zwischen 1963 und 1976. Frankfurt am Main a.o. 1992, p.72s. back

21 LeWitt, Sol: Serial Project #1. In: Aspen No.5-6. Aspen/Colorado 1966, Section 17 (leaflet with 16 pages). New in: URL: aspen/ aspen5and6/ serialProject.html (11/14/2005). back

22 LeWitt, Sol: Drawing Series 1968 (Fours). In: Studio International. April 1969, p.189. back

23 LeWitt, Sol: Drawing Series I, II, III, IIII, “simple“ version. In: Siegelaub, Seth/Wendler, Jack (eds.): Xerox Book. New York 1968, unpaginated. (contribution with 25 copied pages); LeWitt, Sol: Drawing Series I, II, III, IIII A & B (1970). Galleria Sperone/Galerie Konrad Fischer, Torino 1974 (224 pages). back

24 LeWitt, Sol: Paragraphs on Conceptual Art. In: Artforum. Vol.5/no.10, Special Issue. June 1967, p.80. New in: URL: Stu/ kswenson/ lewitt.htm (11/14/2005). back

25 First "Location of line(s)" in the catalogue of the "Wall Drawings": Wall Drawing #154: "A horizontal line of the left side toward the middle of the right side". Red and black crayon. First realization: Sol LeWitt, Nicholas Logsdail. The Museum of Modern Art. Oxford, April 1973. In: LeWitt, Sol: Wall Drawings 1968-1984. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Amsterdam 1984, p.72,171. zurück

26 First "Location of Lines" in the catalogue of the "Wall Drawings" with verbal notations integrated into the realization (so far as the illustrations allow to recognize it): Wall Drawing #224: The location of eight points on the wall. First realization: Sol LeWitt, B. Merz. Incontri Internationale d´Arte. Roma, November 1973. In: LeWitt, Sol: Wall Drawings 1968-1984, see ann.25, p.79,84,178f.
First "Location of Geometric Figures" in the catalogue of the "Wall Drawings" with verbal notations integrated into the realization: Wall Drawing #274: Location of Six Geometric Figures. Figures: black crayon, notations: black pen. First realization: Steingrim Laursen, Sol LeWitt. Gentofte Kunstbibliothek Copenhagen. September 1975. In: LeWitt, Sol: Wall Drawings 1968-1984, see ann.25, p.80,96,186. back

27 Dreher, Thomas: Konzeptuelle Kunst, see ann.20, p.127-140. back

28 2003: Flash version, URL: art/ cybernetic/ index.html (11/15/2005) (to start the generation of verbal notations: click on the text with smaller letters); 2004: ANSI Common LISP version, GNU GPL. In: rob-art. Download from URL: project/ showfiles.php? group_id=108602 (11/15/2005). zurück

29 Harrison, Charles: Essays on Art & Language. Oxford 1991, p.58, pl.39; Shanken, Ed: Art in the Information Age, see ann.13, p.437. back

30 Agam, Yaakov: Que la lumière suit, with sound sensors and reacting bulb, 1967. In: Popper, Frank (ed.): Electra. Cat. exhib. Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris 1984, p.65; Popper, Frank: Künstlerische Bilder und die Technowissenschaft. In: Kunstforum. Nr.97. November/Dezember 1988, p.98; Wedewer, Rolf (ed.): Räume und Environments. Cat. exhib. Städtisches Museum Leverkusen, Schloß Morsbroich. Leverkusen 1969, p.149.
Haacke, Hans: Photoelektrisches, vom Betrachter kontrolliertes Koordinatensystem/Photo-Electric Viewer-Programmed Coordinate System, 14 infra-red light beams, 14 photo-electric cells, 28 white lighted bulbs, room: 305 x 345 x 345 cm, 1966, realization 1968. In: Burnham, Jack: Systems Esthetics. In: Artforum. September 1968, p.34. New in: URL: horvitz/ burnham/ systems-esthetics.html (11/14/2005); Haacke, Hans: Werkmonographie. Cologne 1972, unpaginated, ill.31; Herzogenrath, Wulf (ed.): Selbstdarstellungen. Künstler über sich. Düsseldorf 1973, p.64,66, ill.17.
Morellet, François: Néons avec programmation aléatoire-poétique-géometrique, white argon tubes on wooden boards, electro-mechanic light system (striplight with aleatoric-geometric programming), 1967. In: Morellet, François: Neonly. Cat. exhib. Lenbachhaus. Munich 1995, p.13,24s.
Nauman, Bruce: Touch and Sounds Wall, stringed fabric, microphone, loudspeakers, 275 x 960 cm, 1969. In: Celant, Germano: Das Bild einer Geschichte 1956/1976. Die Sammlung Panza di Biumo...Milano 1980, p.299. back

31 Dreher, Thomas: Art & LanguageUK (1966-72): Maps and Models. Chap. II.2. In: Jahraus, Oliver/Ort, Nina/Schmidt, Benjamin Marius (eds.): Beobachtungen des Unbeobachtbaren. Konzepte radikaler Theoriebildung in den Geisteswissenschaften. Weilerswist 2000, p.184-190, esp. ann.86s. URL: 3_Konzeptkunst_Art_Lang2.html (11/16/2005). Compare Dreher, Thomas: Konzeptuelle Kunst, see ann.20, p.400, ann.204. back

32 Dreher, Thomas: Konzeptuelle Kunst, see ann.20, p.303s., unpaginated (with ill.19). back

33 Goldin, Amy: Art and Technology in a Social Vacuum. In: Art in America. March-April 1972, p.46-50. back

34 It is possible to evaluate visual structures following the criteria of "algorithmic aesthetics" (see ann.35): Myers integrates in "ae" ("aesthetic evaluator", 2004) a LISP program for the aesthetic evaluation ("A toy aesthetics and evaluation system". In: URL: rob-art/ ae.html (11/16/2005)). "ae" is like "The Cybernetic Art That Nobody Wrote" a part of Myers´ project "rob-art" (see ann.28). back

35 Bense, Max: Ästhetik und Programmierung. In: IBM-Nachrichten 16/1966, Nr.180, p.294,296. New in: Büscher, Barbara/von Herrmann, Hans-Christian/Hoffmann, Christoph (eds.): Ästhetik als Programm. Max Bense / Daten und Streuungen, Kaleidoskopien. Medien – Wissen – Performance. Heft 5/2004. Berlin 2004, p.209,213; Bense, Max: Einführung in die informationstheoretische Ästhetik. Grundlegung und Anwendung in der Texttheorie. Hamburg 1969, p.43-52; Gips, James/Stiny, George: Algorithmic Aesthetics: Computer Models for Criticism and Design in the Arts. Berkeley 1978. New in: URL: (11/16/2005) (Myers´ reference in "ae", see ann.34). back

36 Reas, Casey a. o.: {Software} Structures (2004). In: Whitney Artport. URL: commissions/ softwarestructures/ map.html (11/16/2005). back

37 According to the second version of the notation (LeWitt, Sol: Wall Drawings 1968-1984, see ann.25, p.56s.,168): "[#]106. Arcs from the midpoints of two sides of the wall. (ACG 8). Black pencil. First Drawn by: [Mel Bochner,]SL[.] Collection: Dr and Mrs Lorenzo Bonomo, Spoleto, Italy. August, 1971". URL: commissions/ softwarestructures/_106_response/ code.html (11/16/2005). First version of the notation: LeWitt, Sol: All Wall Drawings. In: Arts Magazine. February 1972, p.44, #108: "Arcs, from two sides of the wall, 3 cm. apart." (Illustration on a full page: Legg, Alicia (ed.): Sol LeWitt. Cat. exhib. Museum of Modern Art. New York 1978, p.122, ill.199). back

38 Reas, Casey: A Text about Software & Art. In: Whitney Artport. {Software} Structures 2004. URL: commissions/ softwarestructures/ text.html#material (11/16/2005). back

39 Lauwe, Chombart de: Paris et l´agglomération parisienne. Vol.1, Paris 1952. Vol.2, Paris 1956. Compare Ohrt, Roberto: Phantom Avantgarde. Eine Geschichte der Situationistischen Internationale und der modernen Kunst. Hamburg 1990, p.83. back

40 Unnamed author: Nouvelles de L´Internationale. In: Internationale Situationniste. Numéro 1. Juin 1958, p.28/Debord, Guy-Ernest: Théorie de la dérive. In: Numéro 2. Décembre 1958, p.19 (Reprint: Mosconi, Patrick (ed.): internationale situationniste. Paris 1997/2004). back

41 Debord, Guy-Ernest: Positions situationnistes sur la circulation. In: Internationale Situationniste. Numéro 3. Décembre 1959, p.36. back

42 Unnamed author: Manifeste. In: Internationale Situationniste. Numéro 4. Juin 1960, p.36ss. back

43 Debord, Guy-Ernest: Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography. In: Les Lèvres Nues #6. September 1955. English translation in: URL: sionline/ presitu/ geography.html (11/16/2005). back

44 "Direction", undated. In: Brecht, George: Water Yam. Fluxus edition, since 1963 (see ann.7). In: Hendricks, Jon: Fluxus Codex, see ann.7, p.190. back

45 Agentur Bilwet (Lovink, Geert/Mulder, Arjen): Der Datendandy. Mannheim 1994. In: URL: archiv/ datendandy/ (11/17/2005). back

46 Black, Paul E.: "algorithm". In: Black, Paul E. (ed.): Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures. NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg). URL: dads/ HTML/ algorithm.html (11/20/2005). Further efforts to define the term "algorithm": Wikipedia, German version: URL: wiki/ Algorithmus (11/17/2005); English version: wiki/ Algorithm (11/17/2005); unnamed author: Einführung – Der mathematische Algorithmus. In: Szope, Dominika/Weibel, Peter a. o.: Die Algorithmische Revolution. Zur Geschichte der interaktiven Kunst (2004). In: URL: algorithmische-revolution/ index.php? module=pagemaster& PAGE_user_op= view_page & PAGE_id=130 (11/17/2005). back

47 Kaplan, Craig S.: The Search For Self-Documenting Code. In: URL: ~csk/ washington/ /paper/ (11/17/2005). back

48 Quines: Madore, David: Quines (self-replicating programs). In: URL: ~david/ computers/ quine.html (11/17/2005); Thompson II, Gary P.: The Quine Page. In: URL: ~gthompso/ quine.htm (11/17/2005); Cramer, Florian: Program Code Poetry (3/28/2001). In: URL: essays/ code_poetry_definition/ code_poetry_definition.txt (11/17/2005); Hofstadter, Douglas R.: Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid. New York 1979, p.435ss., 496ss. (on "to quine", derived from the name of the philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine).
Ästhetik: Galanter, Philip: What is Generative Art? Complexity Theory as a Context for Art Theory. In: Papers of Generative Art 2003 Conference. URL: downloads/ ga2003_paper.pdf (2/26/2007). back

49 Corris, Michael (ed.): Conceptual Art. Theory, Myth and Practice. Cambridge/UK 2003, p.28-36 (Frances Colpitt), p.257s. (Johanna Drucker), ill.49. back

50 Thread: one execution task (thread of execution) beside other tasks within a computing program forking itself into several simultaneously running tasks.
Emulation: Imitation of another program´s function, under others
Fork Emulation in Perl: Sarathy, Gurusamy: perfork – Perl´s fork. In: URL: Documentation/ Misc/ perl-5.6.1/ pod/ perlfork.html (11/10/2005).
Felix Bourier, e-mail, 12/2/2005: "...das sich ergebende [01-]Muster (ist gar kein Muster sondern ein Zeichenstrom, der durch Zeilenumbrüche als Muster interpretiert wird), wird von Algorithmen des Shedulers erzeugt, der zwischen den Prozessen (Threads) hin und her schaltet, um Multitasking zu gewährleisten. Der Output ist nicht rechnerspezifisch, sondern hängt von dem Systemzustand und der Anzahl laufender Prozesse und Threads ab, wenn das Programm gestartet wird, als auch vom verwendeten Shedulertypen des Betriebssystems."
"...the resulting [01] pattern (is not a pattern but a stream of signs whose lign breaks are interpreted as patterns) is produced by the algorithms of the scheduler switching between the threads to ensure multitasking. The output is not dependent from the computing machine but from the state of the system and the number of running processes and threads at the starting point of the program as well as from the used type of scheduler of the operating system."
Compare Weiß, Matthias: Microanalysis of "Forkbomb" [of Alex McLean]. In: Media Art Net. URL: source-text/ 101/ (3/16/2007). back

51 Cramer, Florian: forkbomb [by jaromil]. In: URL: feature/ read/ +forkbombsh/ +47/ (10/15/2005). back

52 Sollfrank, Cornelia: - The Return of The Media Hype. In conversation with the creators of the Biennale virus, 0100101110101101.ORG. In: Telepolis, 7/7/2001. URL: (12/3/2007). back

53 «la pratique théorique»: Althusser, Louis: Sur la dialectique matérialiste (De l´inégalité des origines) (April-Mai 1963). In: ib.: Pour Marx. Paris 1965/1986, p.168,172 (ann.9),186s.,216,224. back

54 Burnham, Jack: Alice´s Head. Reflections on Conceptual Art. In: Artforum. February 1970, p.37 ("Conceptual art´s ideal medium is telepathy."); Lucy Lippard: Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972. New York 1973; Lippard, Lucy/Chandler, Jack: The Dematerialization of Art. In: Art International. Vol.XII/nr.2, February 1968, p.31-34. back

55 Georg Jappe: "Bewußtseinskunst als Ideenaktie: die einzige Qualität heißt Mentalität." ("Consciousness art as an idea stock: The unique quality is named mentality." In: Ib.: Attitüden. In: Kunstkreis AG Luzern (ed.): Archiv Harald Szeemann. Dokumente zur Aktuellen Kunst 1967-1970. Luzern 1972, supplement, unpaginated) Compare Dreher, Thomas: Konzeptuelle Kunst, see ann.20, p.146. back

56 Atkinson, Terry: Letter-essay to Lucy Lippard and John Chandler concerning the article "The Dematerialization of Art", 3/23/1968. Excerpts in: Lippard, Lucy: Six Years, see ann.54, p.43s. (quote p.44); Alberro, Alexander/Stimson, Blake: Conceptual Art. A Critical Anthology. Cambridge/Massachusetts 1999, p.53-58 (quote p.54). zurück

57 Florian Cramer: Ten Theses about Software Art, Thesis 5 (2003). In: URL: all/ 10_thesen_zur_softwarekunst/ 10_theses_about_software_art.html (3/12/2007). back

58 Austin, John L.: How to do Things with Words. Oxford 1962, p.108-131. back

59 "actions which have a perlocutionary object (convince, persuade)". In: Austin, John L.: How to do Things with Words, see ann.58, p.117,120s. back

60 "a sequel of a perlocutionary act". In: Austin, John L.: How to do Things with Words, see ann.58, p.117. back

61 Arns, Inke: Read_me, run_me, execute_me. Code as Executable Text: Software Art and its Focus on Program Code as Performative Text. In: Media Art Net. Themes: Generative Tools. URL: themes/ generative-tools/ read_me/7/ (11/18/2005).
Arns, Inke: Read_Me, Run-Me, Execute_me: Software and its Discontents, or: It´s the Performativity of Code, Stupid. In: Goriunova, Olga/Shulgin, Alexei: read-me. Software Art & Cultures Edition 2004. Aarhus 2004, S.186. URL: 1107863582-4268-0/ arns.pdf (8/22/2005). back

62 Compare Austin, John L.: How to do Things with Words, see ann.58, p.121 on "conventional" means in "illocutionary acts" ("Illocutionary acts are conventional acts: perlocutionary acts are not conventional.") unlike fixations of programming languages in indices of rules. back

63 Nake, Frieder: Algorithmische Zeichen. In: Bauknecht, Kurt/Brauer, Wilfried/Mück, Thomas A. (eds.): Informatik 2001. Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft in der Network Economy – Visionen und Wirklichkeit. Tagungsband der GI (Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.)/OCG Jahrestagung 2001 (25th-28th September 2001, University of Vienna). Vol.II, p.736-742. URL: ARCHIV/ Publikationen/ Algor.ZeichenWienText.pdf (9/20/2005). back

64 Nake, Frieder: Algorithmische Zeichen, see ann.63, chap.2. back

65 Brödner, Peter/Seim, Kai/Wohland, Gerhard: Skizze einer Theorie der Informatik-Anwendungen (Version 15/11/2002), chap.3.2. In: URL: Hersfeld/ HeffAG_Wohland_Bericht_15.11.02.html (11/18/2005). back

66 Nake, Frieder: Algorithmische Zeichen, see ann.63, chap.2. back

67 Brödner, Peter/Seim, Kai/Wohland, Gerhard: Skizze, see ann.65. Compare Nake, Frieder: Informatik. Medien & Zeichen: eine Erzählung. Zur dritten Kennzeichnung: Die Software als algorithmisches Zeichen (12/1/2003), p.3s. URL: LERNEN/ Vergangen/ IMZ/ DritteKennz.pdf (11/5/2005). back

68 Thayer, Phall: Art and Craft of Open Source. In. URL: palli/ ArtOpS.pdf (11/18/2005). back

69 Goodman, Nelson: Languages of Art. An Approach to a Theory of Symbols. Indianapolis 1968/1976. Chap. IV.8: Analogs and Digits, p.159-164. back

70 Abel, Günter: Sprache, Zeichen, Interpretation. Frankfurt am Main 1999, p.162s. back

71 Abel, Günter: Sprache, Zeichen, Interpretation, see ann.70, p.166. back

72 In a "Interpretations-Praxis" ("practice of interpretation"). In: Abel, Günter: Sprache, Zeichen, Interpretation, see ann.70, p.164-182,200-204,227. back

73 Kuspit, Donald: The Matrix of Sensations. In: Artnet 8/5/2005. URL: magazineus/ features/ kuspit/ kuspit8-5-05.asp (11/19/2005). back

74 Compare Boris Müller: Hin und Her. In: Processing (Beta). URL: exhibition/ curated_page_5.html ; testbed/ processing/ hinundher/. (11/19/2005). back

75 Nake, Frieder: Informatik. Medien & Zeichen, see ann.67. back

76 Art & Language and : Dreher, Thomas: Konzeptuelle Kunst, see ann.20, p.23-26,54s.; ib.: Art & Language und Luhmanns "Theorie der Beobachtung": "redescriptions", chap.3. In: URL: 3_Konzeptkunst_Art_Lang3.html (11/19/2005); ib.: Blurting in A & L, see ann.18, chap. III.4; Art & Language: Blurting in A & L: an index of blurts and their concatenation (the Handbook), New York/Halifax 1973, p.26, ann.32.
"Institution of art" ("Institution Kunst"): The combination of the systems/subsystems market/art market, university/department of art history, journalism/art criticism and museums/museums of art constituting the art world. (Compare Bürger, Peter: Theorie der Avantgarde. Frankfurt am Main 1974, p.29).
"Museumization" ("Musealisierung"): Zacharias, Wolfgang (ed.): Zeitphänomen Musealisierung. Das Verschwinden der Gegenwart und die Konstruktion der Erinnerung. Essen 1990. back

77 Sennett, Richard: Verfall und Ende des öffentlichen Lebens. Die Tyrannei der Intimität. Frankfurt am Main 1986/1993 (English original: The Fall of Public Man. New York 1974/1976), p.190s.; Joselit, David: Modern Leisure. In: Ross, David A.: Endgame: Reference and Simulation in Recent Painting and Sculpture. Kat. Ausst. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston 1986, p.70-89. zurück

78 Dreher, Thomas: Konzeptuelle Kunst, see ann.20, p.203s.,214. back

79 Art & Language: Index-Systeme, 1972-73. In: Dreher, Thomas: Kontextreflexive Kunst im Kunstkontext, see ann.17, p.48ss.; Art & Language: Blurting in A & L, see ann.18, from chap.II.3 onwards. back

80 Luhmann, Niklas: Soziale Systeme. Grundriß einer allgemeinen Theorie. Frankfurt am Main 1987, p.22-25,100f.,111s.,230,289-296,491ss.,547,570,640s. back

81 «la dérive expérimentale»: Khatib, Abdelhafid: Essai de description psychogéographique des Halles. In: Internationale Situationniste. Numéro 2. Décembre 1958, p.46. back

82 Exception: Art & Language: Blurting in A & L, see ann.76. Compare Dreher, Thomas: Art & Language & Hypertext: Blurting, Mapping and Browsing. In: URL: links/ NAAL.html (11/19/2005). back

83 Schmidt, Siegfried Johannes: Die Welten der Medien. Grundlagen und Perspektiven der Medienbeobachtung. Brunswick/Wiesbaden 1996. back

84 Compare Cramer, Florian: Words Made Flesh. Code, Culture, Imagination. Willem de Kooning Hogeschool. Rotterdam 2005. In: URL: mdr/ research/ fcramer/ wordsmadeflesh/ (11/19/2005), chap. Conclusion, p.124 (pdf): "Software history told as intellectual history, as opposed to media theories which consider cultural imagination a secondary product of material technology."

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1 comment:

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