Charla // Software art

//Brian Mackern
duracion: 2 horas


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A partir de la inmersión tecnológico/digital en la que se encuentra la actual sociedad occidental, es cada vez más evidente el advenimiento de lo que se ha dado en llamar una cultura de 'lo digital', 'cultura de redes', 'cibercultura': La cultura y sus manifestaciones, ya vueltas información, fluyendo a través de espacios informacionales.

Como cualquier otra información, la cultura informacional puede ser digitalizada, y dada esa conversión hacia el espacio computacional, comienza a funcionar con las mismas reglas racionales con las que actúa el resto del sistema. Reglas de optimización, eficiencia y racionalidad.

Con el desarrollo y el cambio fundamental que significa este espacio comunicativo/informacional, el rol del artista cambia, ya no trabajando sobre la representación/imagen, sino que al estar conectado con sus pares (network/computadoras), hace las veces de filtro informacional y por otro lado opera de retransmisor, trabajando en la generación de sentidos alternativos de este espacio fluído y dinámico.

Dentro de este contexto, el software suele ser percibido como una herramienta neutral, un medio transparente para el tratamiento de la información. Una herramienta 'inocua' para la producción y creación de objetos digitales. En realidad esto no es tan así: el software limita al usuario dentro de un entorno acotado de trabajo, lo somete a determinada metáfora de interfaz y lo fuerza a trabajar dentro de determinadas reglas predefinidas.

Podría definirse como 'software artístico' a aquel software desarrollado con propósitos y visiones diferentes a aquellos tradicionales y pragmáticos. Estos programas no son vistos como herramientas eficientes, racionales y optimizadas para la producción y manipulación de objetos digitales, sino como aplicaciones en los que se revelan otras visiones, otros sentidos. Programas donde la intuición, las emociones y otros elementos 'irracionales' imperan. Cualidades recuperadas que confrontan, a veces de manera muy crítica, el discurso imperante en la actual sociedad tecnológico/informacional.

cut&paste remix, resultado de una 'google_navegación' por sitios referidos al tema [keyword:software-art]
[txt_sentence_remix llevado a cabo por una aplicación autómata desarrollada para el caso] - Brian Mackern




"What is artistic software?
Artistic software is, first and foremost, software created for purposes different than traditional pragmatic ones. Such programs are not seen as tools for the production and manipulation of digital objects - from online bank accounts to works of art - they are works of art in their own right.
The emergence of this phenomenon is first of all due to the overall spread of software - commercial, proprietary programs as well as open source - and its introduction into all spheres of human activity. Software has always been seen as a neutral tool, tending to become a transparent medium for information processing, and a most comfortable one at that. Software and the products created with its help have always been considered not only to belong to totally different areas but even to be non-comparable. In most cases, an individual piece of software is thought to be completely interchangeable with a competing product without any effect on the result. Such an approach assumes several stereotypical and false premises.
First, software is not a "transparent" tool for the creation and processing of the digital product. It defines a quite limited space, within a specific framework in which people are required to work. Thus it persistently forces people to keep to certain, pre-defined rules. In addition to the limitations of using computer programs there is also a certain predetermined position - a creative, social, even political one - into which the software user is put, not so much by the software's creators, but by more general power structures: the culture of software creation and media culture as a whole. And this, in turn, depends on the dominant social rules, which will be touched upon in this article. More and more people are finding these limitations not only uncomfortable but also boring and authoritarian.
Second, the overall "digitalisation" of reality makes software, the basis of the functioning of digital space, increasingly important as such. "
Olga Goriunova and Alexei Shulgin / Artistic Software for Dummies

“ art could be generally defined as an art:
- of which the material is formal instruction code, and/or
- which addresses cultural concepts of software…”
Florian Cramer / Concepts, Notations, Software, Art

"Following works can be referred to as artistic software:
1. Instructions (read_me) on adjusting standard (commonly used) software, as well as patches and any kind of impact on software, whose results are not planned by producers and application of which leads to creation of an artistic product.
2. Deconstruction of existing software products, including computer games.
3. Written from scratch program with purpose differing from usual rational software purposes, i.e. refusal of the idea of a program as a purely pragmatic tool. "
read_me festival 1.2 / Concept

"...At the basis of each piece of software there are definite algorithms, but if conventional programs are instruments serving purely pragmatic purposes, the result of the work of artistic programs often finds itself outside of the pragmatic and the rational. "
Olga Goriunova and Alexei Shulgin

"Software culture is the living culture of programmers and users, as active participants in a world of or mediated by software. In its heart it circumscribes the field of intensive immaterial production, if on the level of coding, use, speculation or critical reflection and at the periphery every aspect of human life which is somehow driven or controlled by software.
Software art is reflecting the realities and potentials of this culture."
Pit Schultz, from a closed mailing list discussion.



_diferencias entre software art y generative art

Inke Arns




Criterio de selección en base a un corte transversal por categorías de software (a la manera de repositorio), y no por estrategia creativa.

Ironía /
Activismo-Hacktivismo / Referentes a tópicos políticos y/o sociales
La interface prevaleciendo sobre la funcionalidad / El proceso sobre la interface
Deconstructivos /
Irracionales /

Categorias en

algorithmic appreciation
> non-code-related
> pseudo-quines

appropriation and plagiarism
> stealing

artificial intelligence

artistic tool
> audiovisual
> narrative
> useless

bots and agents

browser art

code art
> code poetry
> minimal code
> obfuscation
> programming languages
> quines

conceptual software
> without hardware - formal instruction

data transformation
> data collage
> multimedia
> sonification
> visualization

digital aesthetics r&d
> disfunctionality
> low tech

digital folk and artisanship
> ascii art
> gimmicks
> screen savers

existing software manipulations
> artistic re-packaging
> cracks and patches
> instructions
> software plugins

> deconstruction and modification
> public games

generative art
> algorithmic audio
> algorithmic design
> algorithmic image
> algorithmic multimedia

hardware transformation


institutional critique


political and activist software
> cease-and-desist-ware
> illicit software
> software resistance
> useful activist software

social software

system dysfunctionality
> denial of service
> virus - security

text manipulation
> text editors





_proceso por el proceso

1962 / Umberto Eco / Opera Aperta
Nuevo concepto de obra de arte, definida como relaciones estructuradas
entre elementos que pueden modularse para crear una serie de obras diferentes

Alex McLean - UK
Tablex is a collaboration between Alex Garacotche of Voodoo Muzak and Alex McLean of slub. Garacotche plays processed drums, his software chopping up and restructuring his sound into fractured, impossible rhythms. McLean writes Perl software live according to the TOPLAP manifesto, working with his code as musical material, generating wigged-out skiffle.
Two unusual directions towards the simple end of making very live, improvised computer music.

Casey Reas /
MicroImage / 2003

ManifestoDraft - TOPLAP

"We demand:

Give us access to the performer's mind, to the whole human instrument.
Obscurantism is dangerous. Show us your screens.
Programs are instruments that can change themselves
The program is to be transcended - Language is the way.
Code should be seen as well as heard, underlying algorithms viewed as well as their visual outcome.
Live coding is not about tools. Algorithms are thoughts. Chainsaws are tools. That's why algorithms are sometimes harder to notice than chainsaws.
We recognise continuums of interaction and profundity, but prefer:

Insight into algorithms
The skillful extemporisation of algorithm as an impressive display of mental dexterity
No backup (minidisc, DVD, safety net computer)
We acknowledge that:

It is not necessary for a lay audience to understand the code to appreciate it, much as it is not necessary to know how to play guitar in order to appreciate watching a guitar performance.
Live coding may be accompanied by an impressive display of manual dexterity and the glorification of the typing interface.
Performance involves continuums of interaction, covering perhaps the scope of controls with respect to the parameter space of the artwork, or gestural content, particularly directness of expressive detail. Whilst the traditional haptic rate timing deviations of expressivity in instrumental music are not approximated in code, why repeat the past? No doubt the writing of code and expression of thought will develop its own nuances and customs.
Performances and events closely meeting these manifesto conditions may apply for TOPLAP approval and seal. "


explicación del codigo:

Florian Cramer

P3RMUTATIONS / Florian Cramer
text automata



Simon Jr

Organic Algorithms / Casey Reas
Reas' software and images are derived from short text instructions explaining processes which define networks. The instructions are expressed in different media including natural language, machine code, computer simulations, and static images. Each translation reveals a different perspective on the process and combines with the others to form a more complete representation.
MicroImage explores the phenomenon of emergence through the medium of software. It is a microworld where thousands of autonomous software organisms and a minimal environment create a software ecosystem. As the environment changes, the organisms aggregate and disperse according to their programmed behavior. They are tightly coupled to the environment and slight changes in the environment create macroscopic changes in the ecosystem. A field of undulating form emerges from the interactions between the environment and the organisms.
In the description of MicroImage, the choice of the words organism, ecosystem, environment, and clone are used abstractly. The word “organism” can be replaced by “system” or “machine.” The use of terminology grounded in biology is used to emphasize the relation between the synthetic software structures used in the project and biological structures found in the natural world.



Inxight / Inxight Software
aplicación discontinuada

WebStalker / I/O/D

Webtracer / Nullpointer

Browser Gestures / Mark Dagget
icon browser / history browser / blur browser
Browser Gestures is an ongoing series of applications that reinterpret what a browser is. Much in the same way that Web Stalker represents the network outside of the well-accepted page metaphor, my browsers reinterpret how browsers normally display and navigate information for the user. In some cases, the browser abstracts the information that is to be displayed by sending the requested page through a feedback loop. In other cases, the browser takes the form of browser's "history": the user must sift through layers of previous pages that have accrued since the browser was opened.

Wrong Browser / JODI

ZNC / Peter Luining



ElectricSheep / Scott Draves
Electric Sheep is a free, open source screen saver run by thousands of people all over the world. It can be installed on any ordinary PC or Mac. When these computers "sleep", the screen saver comes on and the computers communicate with each other by the internet to share the work of creating morphing abstract animations known as "sheep". The result is a collective "android dream", an homage to Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

n0time / Victoria Vesna and Josh Nimoy
n 0 time is the amount of time that none of us have. n 0 time always grows, especially in a new world of globalized network communication, in which time zones become meaningless and the most important asset is no longer time, but attention.
The n 0 time screen saver runs on an idle computer, constantly contributing that computer's amount of wasted time to our central n 0 time database. Screen-saving participants contribute their own n 0 time to either their very own n 0 time bodies, or those of other people. This is called "n 0 time-sharing." Measure how long you have been away from your computer by watching how much denser the n 0 time body has grown.
When a noTime body implodes, all participants are notified by the imploading screen saver via email.


Tactical Media

Designed as a collectively actuated electronic civil disobedience tool, FloodNet inverts the logic of wide open propaganda pipes by flooding network connections with millions of hits from widely distributed, fully participatory nodes. FloodNet enables a performance of presence, which says to Mexico (and its close ally the United States): we are numerous, alert, and watching carefully.
On April 10,1998 FloodNet Tactical Version 1.0 was showcased during an Electronic Civil Disobedience action against Mexican President Zedillo’s web site. A Java applet reload function sent an automated reload request several times per minute to Zedillo’s page. Reports from participants and our observations confirmed that the more than 8,000 international participants in this first FloodNet action intermittently blocked access to the Zedillo site on that day.

ReamWeaver / The Yes Men,,
Reamweaver has everything you need to instantly 'funhouse-mirror' anyone's website, copying the real-time 'look-and-feel' but letting you change any words, images, etc. that you choose. This is the system the Yes Men have been using to divert requests for speakers, lecture invitations and enquiries from the World Trade Organisation website [] to their own, slightly perverted version [], creating opportunities for live surrealist performances and insane Powerpoint presentations.



DriveScroll / Greg Sidal
The Drive Scroll screensaver displays the data from a disk drive as a scrolling image. The data is directly copied to an RGB screen buffer without interpretation. Although it will probably mean that your computer consumes far more electricity than is strictly necessary (all those needless disk rotations, all that unnecessary visual display!) it is very fetching, and will draw comments from worried people who think your computer has truly lost its marbles. Even better, if you use your laptop to give projected demonstrations, drivescroll will often intervene as the screensaver kicks in, forcing you to explain and improvise, lending an edgy, unpredictable flair to your presentation.



SoundRaider / Andy Wilson

IXI-Software / Thor Magnusson & Enrike Hurtado Mendieta
ixi software is an experimental project concerned with building prototypes for musical instruments. We are interested in the computer as a workshop for building non-conventional tools for musicians, i.e. not trying to imitate or copy the tools that we know from the real world of instruments and studio technology. We currently work with open source software and try to build interesting graphical front-ends to software such as Pure Data or Supercollider, but our aim is also to distribute our applications such that everybody can use them, making them simple and intuitive to use.

Balldroppings / Josh Nimoy

ctrl-alt-del / Peter Luining

Glasbead / John Klima

FMOL / Sergi Jorda



RETROYOU R/C [paradise] / Joan Leandre
Revolt Modification

Escape from Woomera / Kate Wild, Stephen Honegger, Ian Malcom, Andrea Blundell, Julian Oliver, Justin Halliday, Matt Harrigan, Darren Taylor, Chris Markwart.
Half-Life Modification

Wolfenstein Modification

Untitled Game / JODI
Quake Modification

Gameboy_ultraF_uk / corby & baily 2001/2
The work consists of a Free Software Game Boy emulator whose rendering system has been (pathologically) rewritten to degenerate over time. Game entities mutate into background and interface elements, or appear as fragments of the games binary code. Text begins to emerge as a jumble of characters, sprites and binary data. Scanline bytes are miscopied, transformed and duplicated. Memory is blitted into sections of the screen, as the inside of the game seeps to the outside. Variations in the rendering behaviour are triggered by user interactions implicit in the game play and are manipulated by a Cellular Automata 'metabolism' giving rise to inter-related rendering symptoms. The emulator displays an unpredictable agency that injects a subjectifying process into the rendering of the software instructions it executes.

September 12th / Gonzalo Frasca

Corridos / Anne-Marie Schleiner & Luis Hernandez
Corridos es un juego para computadora, hecho con programas de código abierto incluyendo Blender, que se distribuye gratis en internet, como una aplicación que corre en cualquier plataforma.
Corridos, el juego, tiene dos barrios, semi factualmente basados en la frontera de México y Estados unidos: una sección del centro de Tijuana y el adyacente mall de San Ysidro. Estos barrios fueron modelados en computadora, mediante el uso de mapas y fotografías del lugar. Tijuana sigue siendo un punto de paso de drogas muy importante en ruta hacia el mercado más grande del mundo, como lo ha sido desde que después de la segunda guerra mundial, el gobierno estadounidense decidiera plantar semilla de amapola en el vecino estado de Sinaloa, técnicos chinos enseñaron a los agricultores en la producción de la amapola, con el fin de abastecer la demanda de morfina para sus soldados, que regresaban fuertemente adictos. La mejor ruta para mover la producción era por Tijuana, asi que se generó una infraestructura que dificilmente iba a desaparecer. Aunque, a diferencia de las canciones, las mas recientes narcomuertes, aproximadamente 60 muertes violentas en los primeros dos meses del 2005 en Tijuana, cuando nos mudamos para allá, incluído el jefe de la policía, se deben a un vacío de poder, desde la resquebrajación del cártel de los hermanos Arellano Félix, con uno de sus jefes en la cárcel y el otro muerto a tiros. De acuerdo con el Semanario Zeta, uno de los pocos periódicos que contienen información factual acerca de narcos, el cártel del Golfo, comandado por Osiel Cárdenas, está tratando de arrebatarle la zona a lo que queda del alguna vez extremadamente violento y poderoso cártel de Tijuana. Osiel está en la cárcel, pero su escuadrón de muerte: 'Los Zetas', compuesto por militares desertores le sigue siendo leal y se ha dicho que están tratando de ganar el control del área de las Californias.



n-Gen Design Machine / n-generate
The n-Gen Design Machine is a demo application that allows anyone to easily create professional quality designs with the push of a button.
It suggests a new design methodology -- designing by numbers and algorithms, rather than by hand.
The n-Gen Design Machine is a rapid prototyping graphic design engine that automatically generates savable graphic files from a combination of the user's own text content and the n-Gen Design Modules - External style files that supply the Recipes (design algorithms, formulae, rule sets) and Ingredients (layouts, imagery, type, color palettes, etc.).
Modulos / Estilos:
California Noir / David Carson
Modernist / Bauhaus-Modernism
Future Tool / Future Farmers
SpaceFarm / The Attik-Post Tools-Tree Axis
Urbivore/ Mark Farrow-Peter Saville

SignWave AutoIllustrator / Adrian Ward
Auto-Illustrator perfected the genre of parodyware in software art. It pretends to be just another vector graphics tool, but actually runs its own course.
"Signwave Auto-Illustrator is an experimental, semi-independent, semi-autonomous, generative software artwork and a fully functional vector graphic design application to sit alongside your existing professional graphic design utilities. Use it to explore a wide range of generative and procedural techniques in the production of your own graphic designs. Discover how easy it is to produce complex designs in an exciting and challenging environment that questions how contemporary software should behave."

SignWave Autoshop / Adrian Ward
Auto-generative bitmap graphic manipulation software
Originally released in 1999 as work undertaken at i-DAT whilst at MLA, Autoshop is an explorative parody of professional bitmap graphic manipulation software. By asserting it's own creative agendas upon the user, it raises awareness of authorship and the position of the creator when digital systems are in use. It's also good for destroying your images.
You can import existing bitmap images in most common formats (requires QuickTime™), apply various tools and filters from the built-in tool palette, or using the plug-ins supplied, and save your results for use in other graphics software.


Formulas / Photoshop Plugins /Peter Luining

Suicide Letter Wizard for Microsoft Word / Olga Goriunova, Data eXchange Laboratory
Suicide Letter Wizard for Microsoft Word helps you to create a suicide letter according to your preferences.
Use professional design. Choose from a variety of styles. Make your letter look great.


Text Editors

Sudden View / Sudden Incorporated
Sudden View is a draft tool for the art of editing text.
Sudden View is a simple yet powerful text editor for the Windows 32-bit environment.
Sudden View allows you to see your work from a new dynamic perspective. It allows you to spread text around the screen in the same way an artist applies paint to a canvas.
Sudden View gives you the ability to Instantly Abstract the contents of your text file in a visual and animated fashion. This provides a variably condensed view of your work and can be very effective for navigation and planning.


Virus / 0100101110101101.ORG and epidemiC
"The creation of a virus tout court, free and without an end or a goal, is in the worst case a test, a survey on the limits of the Net, but in the best case is a form of global counterpower, generally a pre-political form, but one that resists the strong powers; it puts them under a new balance, it shakes and reassembles them. A new idea of a 'virus that is not just a virus' is gaining acceptance, and that it can represent the outbreak of the social into the most social thing of all: the Net."
'' was spread not only through machines but also through men and women. It was for sale to adventurous curators and collectors. To 'buy' an art virus is like betting on the future of its life-span, real venture capitalism. Meanwhile, '' has got the attention of popular virus scanning programs.
Conceived and compiled for the invitation to the 49th Venice Biennale, "" is the product of the collaboration of two entities, 0100101110101101.ORG and epidemiC, already known for other shocking actions, often bordering with crime. "" is both a work of art and a computer virus.
The source code of the virus will be made public and spread on the opening day of the Biennale, June 6th 2001, from the Slovenian Pavilion. The main anti-virus software companies have already been informed about the technical specifications of "" and the disinstallation instructions will be attached to the virus.



2bit / Vista Software
In this age of multi-CD installations, how small can a computer program be? This academic program answers that question, and is here mainly for curiosity's sake. In fact, this is the smallest computer program in the world.
So how big is it? 2 bytes. (hence the name "2-bit" - but there is also an additional pun in there...). Although it's really 2 bytes, not bits, "16 bits" doesn't sound as cool.It doesn't do anything other than terminate. The screen image to the right shows the program source code, how to compile it, its execution, in fact, everything regarding the program. Ahh, the good old days....




The House That Jack Built: Jack Burnham's Concept of Software as a Metaphor for Art / Edward A. Shanken
Software, Information Technology: Its New Meaning for Art / Primera muestra de Software-art / 1970 - Jewish Museum - NY

textos relativos Software Art / runme

[Media Architecture] Hello, World (about software art with love) / Olga Goriunova

Software Art Panel - CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPTION / Media Arts Lab at Künstlerhaus Bethanien
In cooperation with transmediale.03
February 4th, 2003, Studio II

Read_me, run_me, execute_me: Software and its discontents, or: It’s the performativity of code, stupid! / Inke Arns

Browser-art / Brian Mackern

Software Art / Florian Cramer and Ulrike Gabriel

Transmediale 01 / artistic software jury - full statement

read_me festival 1.2 // 1st Software Art festival

RunMe / Software Art Repository

dive into software

PAUSE ART - PLAY GAMES / Ricardo Duque

Cracking the Maze "Game Plug-ins and Patches as Hacker Art" / Anne-Marie Schleiner

GAME as CRITIC as ART. 2.0 / Laura Baigorri

Algorithmic Art and Artificial Intelligence / Remko Scha with contributions by Jochem van der Spek





The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction / Walter Benjamin (1936)

The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction BY An Evolving Thesis/1991-1995
Douglas Davis

ManifestoDraft - TOPLAP


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Brian Mackern/1962/Uruguay

Director/editor de <artefactos virtuales>, uno de los primeros espacios
virtuales latinoamericanos dedicados a la investigación, desarrollo e
implementación de proyectos de netart [1996].

Desarrollador/diseñador de diversos proyectos de arte net/cd y compositor de
estructuras y entornos sonoros autogenerativos/reactivos.
Sus trabajos, enfocados principalmente en estructuras de proceso, exploran
el diseño de interfaces, navegaciones alternativas, concatenaciones
aleatorias de eventos, estocástica, la creación de soundtoys
[objetos/interfaces sonoro visuales generativas/reactivas/interactivas] y
animaciones video-data en tiempo real, netart y soundart.

Desde el año 2000 trabaja en la elaboración, organización y
estructuración de una database de netartistas latinoamericanos
[netart_latino database].

Participa en múltiples proyectos colaborativos.

Escribe artículos referidos al browser-art, soundtoys, netart, software-art,
y dicta diversas conferencias y workshops en torno a estos tópicos en
Uruguay, Argentina, España y México.

Ha compuesto música para piezas de teatro, video/movies, y diseña
settings/entornos sonoros para performances.

Desde 1999 se desempeña como video-data jockey dentro de muy diversos
entornos, realizando proyecciones en tiempo real y diseños visuales
específicos junto a artistas sonoros/músicos.

Sus ultimos trabajos han sido presentados dentro del marco de la
' / 2004 eurolatino tour', gira que incluyó Uruguay, Argentina,
México, España, Italia, Korea.

Su obra ha recibido diversos reconocimientos institucionales:

WRO Center for Media Art, Wroclaw, Polonia, mayo 2005.
[]Primer Premio Mejor Autor Multimedia, XI Canarias Mediafest
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, España, 2004.
[]Mención de Honor, Ciberart Bilbao 2004
Bilbao, España, 2004.
[]Premio Apoyo a la Producción Artística MAD03
Madrid, España, 2003.
[]Primer Premio 50 Salón Nacional de Artes Visuales
Montevideo,Uruguay, 2002.
[]Mención de Honor, Virose and V_2 Contest, Ligações/Links/Liaisons
Porto, Portugal, 2001.


CV ampliado:

ICQ 1735845