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Instrumental relations: software as art, art as software

Conference Paper


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Abstract


  • Software art is characterised by a close concern with the culture of

    software and the medium of programming. This inevitably

    demands an engagement with the terrain of the instrumental;

    software is a sphere of tool-making and programming is governed

    by conceptions of functional (and generic) utility. Yet where does

    this leave art? If, in Kantian terms, art is defined by its

    uselessness (by its lack of any externally grounded necessity) and

    if, in classical critical theoretical terms, this alienation from

    function opens up a space of critique, then how can art explore

    and participate within the instrumental without abandoning its

    fragile critical autonomy? This paper addresses this question,

    drawing upon Heideggers conception of technology and Platos

    conception of poesis to argue that critical software art can not

    simply oppose the instrumental character of software; instead it

    must acknowledge its own complicity in the operations of hiding

    and unreflective functioning that characterize the instrumental

    once the latter is re-conceived apart from the simplicity of human

    agency and humanly determinable ends. I examine one of my own

    software projects as a means of clarifying the dilemmas of critical

    aesthetic purchase that emerge as a result of this engagement with

    the instrumental dimension of software.

Publication Date


  • 2007

Citation


  • Bunt, B. S. "Instrumental relations: software as art, art as software." Digital Arts and Culture. Ed. A. Hutchison. Perth WA: Curtin University of Technology, 2007. 78-87.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1241&context=creartspapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/creartspapers/233

Start Page


  • 78

End Page


  • 87

Place Of Publication


  • Perth WA

Abstract


  • Software art is characterised by a close concern with the culture of

    software and the medium of programming. This inevitably

    demands an engagement with the terrain of the instrumental;

    software is a sphere of tool-making and programming is governed

    by conceptions of functional (and generic) utility. Yet where does

    this leave art? If, in Kantian terms, art is defined by its

    uselessness (by its lack of any externally grounded necessity) and

    if, in classical critical theoretical terms, this alienation from

    function opens up a space of critique, then how can art explore

    and participate within the instrumental without abandoning its

    fragile critical autonomy? This paper addresses this question,

    drawing upon Heideggers conception of technology and Platos

    conception of poesis to argue that critical software art can not

    simply oppose the instrumental character of software; instead it

    must acknowledge its own complicity in the operations of hiding

    and unreflective functioning that characterize the instrumental

    once the latter is re-conceived apart from the simplicity of human

    agency and humanly determinable ends. I examine one of my own

    software projects as a means of clarifying the dilemmas of critical

    aesthetic purchase that emerge as a result of this engagement with

    the instrumental dimension of software.

Publication Date


  • 2007

Citation


  • Bunt, B. S. "Instrumental relations: software as art, art as software." Digital Arts and Culture. Ed. A. Hutchison. Perth WA: Curtin University of Technology, 2007. 78-87.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1241&context=creartspapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/creartspapers/233

Start Page


  • 78

End Page


  • 87

Place Of Publication


  • Perth WA