Hello 2015

Elias Sinderson elias@email.arc.nasa.gov
Mon, 04 Mar 2002 17:35:00 -0800

"Adam L. Beberg" wrote:

> Is a paintbrush art? Is a chisel art? Is a typewriter art? Of course not, no
> more then code is art.  Code is a TOOL, a set of instuctions. What the
> software does can be art, but most software is just another tool that might be
> used to create art.

The simplicity of your analysis leaves me almost speechless... typeless? At any
rate, I argue that tools can be art, provided that there is more than just
function to them. For instance, a crude hammer can be made by lashing a rock to
a stick - a tool yes? But when the person making that tool takes the time to
carve nice little patterns into the handle, or inset little pretty pieces of
other rocks, it becomes more than just a tool - it becomes art. The distinction
is that in the first the form follows no more than the function the hammer
provides, while in the second there is an aesthetic component to the artifact.
The presentation of the tool itself becomes a statement. Thus, the artifact
becomes both tool and art. It is this reaching beyond the simple intended
message (the first-order intention) that adds artistic value. It is no longer
just a hammer, but a thing of beauty.

The same argument could be said of code: The simple PERL hack may just be a
tool, but when the author labors over the tool to increase it's aesthetic appeal
it becomes more art. (Don't give me that crap about only some people
understanding the message - the same could be said of any artistic movement.)
There is a simple elegance to a well built tool, with or without engravings,
that evokes appreciation beyond the simple, first-order intention of it's
functionality. I've felt that certain transcendant quality just as often while
lookiung at a painting, listening to music, reading a mathematical proof, or
studying someone elses code. Yes, even your code Beberg.  ;-)

In essence,


P.S. - You've been meeting the *wrong* kind of women.

> Tools are good, you just cant impress women with them, for that you need
> art - thus code is definately not art and geeks aren't artists :)