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I just got John Maeda's book Creative Code: it's dedicated to Muriel Cooper (you mentioned her, Ira).  The dedication to her quotes something she either said or wrote:

"I was convinced that the line between reproduction tools and design would blur when information became electronic and that the lines between designer and artist, author and designer, professional and amateur would also dissolve."

Could Cooper be right?  If not, is it because levels of complexity, or aesthetic problems, prevent any genuine intermingling?  If so, why would the material of the expressive medium (electricity?) make such a difference?

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One Comment

  1. Here’s a rather large and “undisciplined” leap.
    Rather than define the blurring with disciplinary-based (and very high-level) binaries: “designer and artist, author and designer…” I’d suggest going a level lower and argue that code (the medium to manipulate electricity) blurs the line separating natural language and mathematical language. This binary seems to be the key dilimiter, dividing not only our brains but our universities and beyond. The binary also seems to subjugate other formal language systems: we define visual or aural language in terms of analytical and/or narrative structures. A work of art reflects this bifurcation-e.g. a geometric 2D pictorial structure anchors an expressive figurative narrative. Integration happens only though explicit organization. Natural language systems seem to sacrifice rigidity for mutability, while mathematical systems employ an opposite strategy.
    Code has the potential to be an integrated language system, functioning both as a analytically and narratively expressive medium. So yes, I’d say Cooper may be right.


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