Code as Art


I had a fantastic conversation with Dan of Esoteric Codes.   Esoteric codes explores code as a creative medium and posts projects and writings that approach code from this perspective.

Dan is incredibly knowledgable about the history of code as art and the different communities of hackers, artist, academics who contribute to this field.

I have been interested in this field for years, but one of my concerns is the fetishization of code. When we talk about code as art, is it analogous to a doctor praising a beautiful suture (which I would find difficult to elevate to art).

But Dan has a notion about individuality. In professional software development, the goal is to make your code as generic as possible.  This is so it is as maintainable and readable as possible.   In this context, good software as a craft, would be different from software as art.  Software as art would be something like software that elevates personal expression. What about personal expression in something like a suture? Well perhaps that would be knitting or weaving and no longer medicine. So when you you are writing your code, not to improve some sort of corporate infrastructure but to express something deep inside your being – what is that?

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