Winnie Soon, Geoff Cox: Aesthetic Programming: A Handbook of Software Studies (2020)

14 February 2021, dusan

Aesthetic Programming explores the technical as well as cultural imaginaries of programming from its insides. It follows the principle that the growing importance of software requires a new kind of cultural thinking — and curriculum — that can account for, and with which to better understand the politics and aesthetics of algorithmic procedures, data processing and abstraction. It takes a particular interest in power relations that are relatively under-acknowledged in technical subjects, concerning class and capitalism, gender and sexuality, as well as race and the legacies of colonialism. This is not only related to the politics of representation but also nonrepresentation: how power differentials are implicit in code in terms of binary logic, hierarchies, naming of the attributes, and how particular worldviews are reinforced and perpetuated through computation.

Using p5.js, it introduces and demonstrates the reflexive practice of aesthetic programming, engaging with learning to program as a way to understand and question existing technological objects and paradigms, and to explore the potential for reprogramming wider eco-socio-technical systems. The book itself follows this approach, and is offered as a computational object open to modification and reversioning.”

Publisher Open Humanities Press, 2020
Creative Commons BY-SA License
ISBN 9781785420948
293 pages

Project website


Nick Thurston: Of the Subcontract, or Principles of Poetic Right (2013) [EN, ES]

8 December 2020, dusan

Of the Subcontract is a collection of poems about computational capitalism, each of which was written by an underpaid worker subcontracted through’s Mechanical Turk service. The collection is ordered according to cost-of-production and repurposes metadata about the efficiency of each writer to generate informatic typographic embellishments. Those one hundred poems are braced between two newly commissioned essays; the whole book is threaded with references to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Wolfgang von Kempelen, and the emerging iconography of cloud living.

Of the Subcontract reverses out of the database-driven digital world of new labour pools into poetry’s black box: the book. It reduces the poetic imagination to exploited labour and, equally, elevates artificial artificial intelligence to the status of the poetic. In doing so, it explores the all-too-real changes that are reforming every kind of work, each day more quickly, under the surface of life.”

Foreword by McKenzie Wark
Afterword by Darren Wershler
Publisher information as material, York, 2013
Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported License
ISBN 1907468188, 9781907468186
144 pages

Interview with author: Stephen Voyce (Iowa Review, 2014).
Review: Rita Raley (American Book Review, 2014).

Publisher (ES)

Of the Subcontract (English, 2013)
De la subcontractar (Spanish, 2019)

Computational Culture, 7: Apps and Infrastructures (2019)

30 October 2019, dusan

A special issue of the journal, dedicated to the research of apps and infrastructure, with a special section on ‘Critical Approaches to Computational Law’ edited by Simon Yuill.

Contributions by Jeremy Wade Morris and Austin Morris; Carolin Gerlitz, Anne Helmond, Fernando van der Vlist, and Esther Weltevrede; Rowan Wilken, Jean Burgess, Kath Albury; Esther Weltevrede and Fieke Jansen; Michael Dieter and Nathaniel Tkacz; Stacy E. Wood; Johannes Paßmann; Théo Lepage-Richer; Mara Karagianni; Ezekiel Dixon-Roman, Ama Nyame-Mensah and Allison B. Russell; Winnie Soon; Matthias Plennert, Georg Glasze and Christoph Schlieder.

Edited by Carolin Gerlitz, Anne Helmond, David Nieborg, and Fernando van der Vlist
Published in October 2019
Open access
ISSN 2047-2390