Cox Geoff, Notes towards a poetic of code
[this version of text is distributed under the creative commons license:
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0] for a presentation at VJ7,
constant, brussels, Nov 2003.
Geoff Cox has participated in the seminar Media mediate: on performativity
What follows is a series of loosely connected ideas [drawing upon, and hacking together, some previous papers and projects].
The presentation begins by making reference to an essay written with Adrian Ward and Alex McLean called 'The Aesthetics of Generative Code' (2000) making an analogy between code and poetry as a form that requires reading/speaking (or should I say writing/executing). Some of these ideas have been further developed in the co-curation of the show 'generator'that engaged with rule-based work bringing together artwork from the conceptual tradition and the recent work of artist-programmers. All the work was 'live' or performative in this sense as generative art/media. Part of this show included a contribution by some monkeys entitled 'notes towards the complete works of shakespeare'
My overall approach is rather unfashionable (bypassing deconstruction for historical materialism) drawing upon Benjamin's statement (in 'The Author as Producer' of 1934) that it is simply not enough to have social or political commitment without at the same time thinking through its relationship to the means of production and the technical apparatus. He says:
‘An author who has carefully thought about the conditions of production today... will never be concerned with the products alone, but always, at the same time, with the means of production. In other words, his [/her] products must possess an organising function besides and before their character as finished works.’ (1983: 98)
In this way, I am operating in a similar spirit to the organisers of this event in what they would describe as keeping things in the kitchen than taking them through into the dining room. For Benjamin, the ‘cultural producer’ is recommended to intervene in the production process, in order to transform the apparatus. This presentation simply asks if this general line of thinking retains relevance for cultural production at this point in time – when activities of production, consumption and circulation operate through complex global networks served by information technologies.
Sehgal Melanie, Looking back and not behind. On the concept of Performativity
I chose the title “Looking back and not behind” to talk about the concept of Performativity. I will try to explain the idea and the development of the word “performativity” mainly in language theory and I hope that although it will be quite a bit of linguistics you will see at the end how the concept of performativity opens up and can be useful for understanding cultural practices in general and not only the practice of speaking. I will try to show how the idea of performativity leads from an analysis of language to cultural studies and maybe even further: At the end I have some questions, one is about the role of the object, and the other is if performativity could be helpful to think about media in general (and not only about language).
Performativity I think is mainly a tool that can be useful concerning many different topics. What I mean by tool is that it works on or against something that is already there, it doesn’t really stand by itself as an own consistent theory. That’s why I first want to situate the discussion around performativity in the larger context of philosophic and linguistic enquiry.