trenchant.org

by adam mathes
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Every Bit Is Yours

I was thinking of something Paul B. Davis said about computers and art and tool creation. It took me a while to dig it up, and it’s even better than I remember.

paul b. davis select magazine interview - from select magazine issue #2, dec 2001

the purpose of the 8bit stuff is just to investigate the aesthetics and mechanisms of computer representation through an interface to the computer which has been discarded by contemporary art culture - that being programming your own shit and understanding the fundamentals of the computing medium. the 8bit record gets its inspiration not from video game music, but from the spirit of investigation and learning about computers that was the foundation of the early home computer scene…early home computers had a different approach to the mass market - they believed that the average joe could learn to use computers both as a delivery system for commercial applications and as a platform for tool development. today you only see that in the linux community, which is great but not at all widespread and still seen as relatively hard-core and sort of isolated…

moms aren’t out buying their 8 year old kids books on how to port C++ applications to linux like they were out buying them books on how to program BASIC with an apple IIe 15 years ago. and it’s sad because the point is this - every bit, every representation, every piece of information in a computer is yours to fuck with. and the potential always exists for you to acknowledge that a computer is completely programmable in every aspect and that it’s most powerful function is to facilitate tool creation. because if you don’t, then the computer becomes solely a vehicle for content delivery to a captive audience (aka TV). in other words, if you don’t learn to use and understand your computer, then some big software company is going to tell you how. and what kind of art is going to come from that?

it’s most powerful function is to facilitate tool creation is what I’m trying to remember in 2010.

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