Monthly Archives: February 2012

PhD Thesis: Artist-Programmers and Programming Languages for the Arts

With some minor corrections done, my thesis is finally off to the printers.  I’ve made a PDF available, and here’s the abstract:

We consider the artist-programmer, who creates work through its description as source code. The artist-programmer grandstands computer language, giving unique vantage over human-computer interaction in a creative context. We focus on the human in this relationship, noting that humans use an amalgam of language and gesture to express themselves. Accordingly we expose the deep relationship between computer languages and continuous expression, examining how these realms may support one another, and how the artist-programmer may fully engage with both.

Our argument takes us up through layers of representation, starting with symbols, then words, language and notation, to consider the role that these representations may play in human creativity. We form a cross-disciplinary perspective from psychology, computer science, linguistics, human-computer interaction, computational creativity, music technology and the arts.

We develop and demonstrate the potential of this view to inform arts practice, through the practical introduction of software prototypes, artworks, programming languages and improvised performances. In particular, we introduce works which demonstrate the role of perception in symbolic semantics, embed the representation of time in programming language, include visuospatial arrangement in syntax, and embed the activity of programming in the improvisation and experience of art.

Feedback is very welcome!

BibTeX record:

@phdthesis{McLean2011,
    title = {{Artist-Programmers} and Programming Languages for the Arts},
    author = {McLean, Alex},
    month = {October},
    year = {2011},
    school = {Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London}
}

RIS record:

TY  - THES
ID  - McLean2011
TI  - Artist-Programmers and Programming Languages for the Arts
PB  - Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London
AU  - McLean, Alex
PY  - 2011/10/01

Motivation

Now here’s an hour well spent, Bret Victor giving a talk on “Inventing on Principle”:

He demos some really nice experiments in live interfaces, including some javascript live coding with a nice implementation of time scrubbing.  He uses this great work as an illustration for his main point though, which is about why he has done these things. He puts forward a vision of the inventor as someone who isn’t motivated by building a career, making a startup, or engineering challenges in industry or research, but clear moral principles.

Among others he mentions Richard Stallman, which reminded me of the MOTIVATION file that comes with emacs.

Anyway watch it — I’m going to watch it again before commenting further..