Antithesis: the dialectics of software art
Published by Digital Aesthetics Research Center, Aarhus University, 2010
First written in 2006, Doctoral thesis, University of Plymouth, UK
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Preface: It is one of the assertions of the book that software art praxis can offer new critical forms of arts practice by embodying contradictions in the interplay between code and action. Contradiction is also embodied in the form the text itself takes, as both a conventional piece of academic writing (referred to herein as thesis) and a script written in Perl. Together, it presents an argument about software art that is simultaneously an example of software art. Crucially, both the thesis and the program can be interpreted and acted upon.
The book, derived from my Doctoral thesis completed in 2006, includes references to a number of other essays written during the time of study, as well as some key collaborative projects: notably the exhibition Generator, the publication Notes Towards the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and the project Museum of Ordure (details of all can be found in the references section at the end of the book). Although referred to in the text, the projects do not illustrate the thesis but embody its argument. Similarly, the text is not a linked narrative to these projects but an example of software art practice in itself. In form and content, the thesis aims to express a dialectics of software art; expressing a move from in-itself to for-itself.
As the text was first written in 2006, some details are a lttle outmoded in places, but I do hope its subsequent publication is not too late to be useful in some way to its readers.