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


Matthew Fuller: How To Be a Geek: Essays on the Culture of Software (2017)

29 June 2017, dusan

“Computer software and its structures, devices and processes are woven into our everyday life. Their significance is not just technical: the algorithms, programming languages, abstractions and metadata that millions of people rely on every day have far-reaching implications for the way we understand the underlying dynamics of contemporary societies.

In this innovative new book, software studies theorist Matthew Fuller examines how the introduction and expansion of computational systems into areas ranging from urban planning and state surveillance to games and voting systems are transforming our understanding of politics, culture and aesthetics in the twenty-first century. Combining historical insight and a deep understanding of the technology powering modern software systems with a powerful critical perspective, this book opens up new ways of understanding the fundamental infrastructures of contemporary life, economies, entertainment and warfare.

In so doing Fuller shows that everyone must learn ‘how to be a geek’, as the seemingly opaque processes and structures of modern computer and software technology have a significance that no-one can afford to ignore. This powerful and engaging book will be of interest to everyone interested in a critical understanding of the political and cultural ramifications of digital media and computing in the modern world.”

Publisher Polity, 2017
ISBN 9781509517152, 1509517154
x+233 pages



Luciana Parisi: Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space (2013)

20 February 2015, dusan

“In Contagious Architecture, Luciana Parisi offers a philosophical inquiry into the status of the algorithm in architectural and interaction design. Her thesis is that algorithmic computation is not simply an abstract mathematical tool but constitutes a mode of thought in its own right, in that its operation extends into forms of abstraction that lie beyond direct human cognition and control. These include modes of infinity, contingency, and indeterminacy, as well as incomputable quantities underlying the iterative process of algorithmic processing.

The main philosophical source for the project is Alfred North Whitehead, whose process philosophy is specifically designed to provide a vocabulary for “modes of thought” exhibiting various degrees of autonomy from human agency even as they are mobilized by it. Because algorithmic processing lies at the heart of the design practices now reshaping our world—from the physical spaces of our built environment to the networked spaces of digital culture—the nature of algorithmic thought is a topic of pressing importance that reraises questions of control and, ultimately, power. Contagious Architecture revisits cybernetic theories of control and information theory’s notion of the incomputable in light of this rethinking of the role of algorithmic thought. Informed by recent debates in political and cultural theory around the changing landscape of power, it links the nature of abstraction to a new theory of power adequate to the complexities of the digital world.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2013
Technologies of Lived Abstraction series
ISBN 0262018632, 9780262018630
392 pages

For a New Computational Aesthetics: Algorithmic Environments as Actual Objects lecture by Parisi (2012, video, 72 min).

Reviews: Lecomte (Mute, 2013), Ikoniadou (Computational Culture, 2014).


PDF (24 MB)