Thursday, October 14, 2004


We've been working today on the Creative Supercomputing project, and it's both illuminating and disturbing to see how component projects tend to distort through the the lens of the visual arts discipline. The cross-disciplinary collaboration which gave rise to some of the projects too often seems to give way to a view of the world in which everything is treated as a design problem. I'm as guilty as anyone of seeing the penetrating gaze and shaping touch of design where there may well be none, but it's clear that not everything is a visual problem. Visual comunications and software development might both be enabled by people we refer to as designers, but one is an engineering discipline, more akin to architecture than to art. The net result of this distortion is that those of us in the visual arts tend to dramatically underestimate both the importance of underlying technologies and the burden of the necessary commitment to their continual development. We view technology as an enabling tool rather than a contextualising environment; something you deploy rather than something you populate and grow. It's a serious error, and uncorrrected it condemns our sci-art collaborations to peripheral effect and irrelevance. How we escape this fate is a theme I hope to explore more fully in the Ultraparallelism paper Gregory & are due to deliver in the next two weeks.


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