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Aesthetic Programming

Diagrams on fabric, publication, networked object

Geoff Cox & Winnie Soon

Aesthetic Programming explores the technical as well as cultural imaginaries of programming from its insides, considering more complex and deeply entangled set of relations between writing, coding and thinking. The project 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. As the form of a computational object and a handbook, it engages 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. 

Geoff Cox likes not to think of himself as an old white man from a parochial island but is clearly in denial. At least other aspects of his identity are thankfully more ambiguous and fluid. Research interests lie broadly across contemporary aesthetics, cultural theory, software studies, and image politics, reflected in his academic position as Associate Professor and co-Director of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University, UK, and as visiting academic at Aarhus University, Denmark. 

Winnie Soon was born and raised in Hong Kong, increasingly aware of, and confronting, identity politics regarding colonial legacy and postcolonial authoritarianism. As an artist-coder-researcher, she/they is interested in queering the intersections of technical and artistic practices as a feminist praxis, with works appearing in museums, galleries, festivals, distributed networks, papers and books. Researching in the areas of software studies and computational practices, she/they is currently Assistant Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark.