Software Art and Political Implications in Algorithms
Pau David Alsina Gonzalez

Author: Nowaday we can find how behind Software there is a particular mental model structuring a range of possible actions within each particular software’s functionalities. As it happens inside Computers, Software assumes a conception of communication, memory, cognition or intelligence confronted in dialogue with our own human capacities. Computer instructions are then vital as computer’s operations are invoked by internal instructions that are unintentionally triggered by external inputs. So in order to accomplish a task a computer must perform an algorithm, a finite list of instructions.

Therefore as different main categories of software (operating systems, utilities and applications) with their pre-defined algorithms structure and pre-configure our relationship with the information, they also establish a range of possibilities of thought, perception and knowledge within the life with computers, in the so called “Digital revolution”.

This is why a computer’s ontology, and its deconstruction through art and philosophical practice is needed in order to evoke the “essence” hidden inside cultural reflections on software, their control structures living behind. Software art in general or Database art in particular encorage us to create new algortihms that make us able to experience other relationships, new possibilities to manage information, experience reality and explain the world to ourselves.

This deep political and aesthetical implications behind the selection and creation of algorithms, and the software’s functionalities, behind Google algortihms, military purpose software applications or holistic user profile databases should aware us seriously and encorage us to take part in their creation, to understand their implications, to observe their development and to throw away their assumed innocence.

In this text I would like to explore these ideas and evolve some thougths and examples around software’s political innocence being broken through software art practice.

This essay was written for Read_Me Software Art and Cultures conference and is published in read_me Software Art & Cultures Edition 2004 .


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