Super-Abstract: Software Art and a Redefinition of Abstraction
Brad Borevitz

This essay regards software art practices from the point of view of visual art tradition, namely abstract art. It was written for Read_Me Software Art and Cultures conference and is published in read_me Software Art & Cultures Edition 2004.

Author: "Abstraction is one prevalent tendency in software art. Should such work, expressing itself as abstract visual presentations, be understood as an anachronistic, atavistic return to the forms of high modernism or a phenomenon that has its roots within the nature of software itself? Through an examination of the both the code and the display of some works from the Whitney's CODOC exhibition, I show that the front and backend of abstract works can have a homologous structure which suggest specific reading and viewing practices. It is possible to argue for a neo-greenbergian notion of truth-to-materials; within software art, or to assert that abstract software aims at a kind of self-critique of software. However, the observation that the visual abstraction of this work is related to notions of abstraction embedded within the language and cultures of software itself is significant in properly assigning a relationship to art historical precedent, and understanding questions regarding representation or instrumentality. Programming exists under a regime defined by multiple levels of abstraction: object orientation, cybernetic modeling and parameterization. Being composed of systems of generalizations at each level, programming is abstract through and through. It is Super-Abstract: it stages its own abstraction and serves no master save it's own play, display, and critique, that of abstraction itself."


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keywords: abstract-educational-historical
category: text - software art related/aesthetics of software art
uploaded by o, 07 Feb 2005




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