What is Poetic Computation?

When I began to write this post I tried using tab and the space bar to create a coded pattern of abstract blankness, nothingness to my story. This is poetic computation in its entirety. It is taking something abstract, such as typing words, writing code (how are they different really…), taking something that supposedly has fixed purpose and adding concept, aesthetic, and uniqueness. For myself, my first approach to creative thinking is to think of every possible approach, outcome, “solution”, process and flip it upside down. When something is given to you as a medium or tool, is its meaning or functionality as that tool fixed? Absolutely not.

In class we broke down our ideas of poetic computation and my favorite definition had to be subjectivity into instruction. Art takes its form through code, whether that be actual subjective meaning or aesthetic or actual instruction. Pieces like fluxus performance art pieces present human tendencies through absurdity. Thinking about performance art as a form of poetic computation is beautiful because it applies aesthetic to mechanical thinking. In Ramsey’s class on Friday, he informed us that our ultimate goal is to create a system of computing, but the furthest away that is from typing symbols on a computer, the better. When thinking about systems like Lambda Calculus, computing becomes completely abstract. Concepts such as a infinite, become somewhat plausible all through a system of functions, or one line of functions. I think that understanding computing in this way makes it incredibly poetic because computing can be completely abstract, as long as it works in a system of code.

Our lives are stored in bits… living spaces arranged in human-sized pixels”

I have been thinking a lot about this sentence discussed in Taeyoon’s first (technically second) class. At this point in time, our memory as humans is stored in literal pixels. Memory itself is out of our control… between, aging, dreams, memory is a question of what we really choose to remember. With the accessibility of cameras from our phones and the endorsement of memory-abiding apps like snapchat, instagram, and facebook, where will that memory go once a program is killed? Do parts of us die with them? Just as we plot out spaces in grounds or in compartments for when our bodies physically leave the earth, where will be plot out the pixels that define our lives? Can we reserve spaces on a server for our souls to forever exist? A poetic example of this in On Kawara’s twitter @555uhz. Although On Kawara died in 2014, his twitter continues to live on, everyday tweeting “I AM STILL ALIVE #art”… I think that this collision between bot and human is incredibly powerful, saying very much by doing very little. It takes a functional program, twitter, and implements a seemingly infinite obstruction of both life and death, poetry and humor, tweeting and poking at our human tendency to constantly make our own imagined communities and selves “remember” that we are STILL ALIVE.