I am going to present a co-author paper (with Shelly Knotts) at School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong as part of the conference “Art Machines: International Symposium on Computational Media Art “.
Date: 5Jan 2019 (Sat)
Time: 11:45 am
Venue: M6094 Future Cinema Studio, L6, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, 18 Tat Hong Avenue, Kowloon Tong
See the abstract here :
Learning to code has started to be part of the core strategy in educational curriculum, from primary school to higher education, especially in many developed countries that promote stem education , or at least coding is recognized as an important aspect of science and technology development . In the art and design-related disciplines, creative coding emphasizes code as an expressive material , and embraces exploration and experimentation of code beyond functional applications. OpenFrameworks, Sonic Pi, p5.js Processing and ml5.js are some examples of open source platforms that facilitate creative and expressive creation through sharing and remixing code. In other words, the community of creative coding expands the usual way of learning to code beyond science and engineering disciplines.
However, with the increasing demand of computational practices in emerging disciplines such as software studies, platform studies, new media studies and digital humanities, coding is increasingly considered as “literacy”  to humanities. This perspective of coding literacy becomes a critical tool to understand the history, culture and society alongside its technical level, especially regarding our digital experiences are ever more programmed, both technically and culturally.
This presentation introduces two cases where two artist-coders consider code practice as a mode of aesthetic and critical inquiry, and they teach coding (in a format of workshop delivery) in a critical way through engaging with their artistic and coding practice. This aesthetic approach includes not only introducing coding practically and creatively but also cultivating an open space where discussing and reflecting on computational culture is possible. This is similar to scholar Michael Mates describes as ‘procedural literacy’, which is to connect social and cultural issues with coding through theoretical and aesthetic considerations. In particular, how “the culturally-embedded practices of human meaning-making and technically-mediated processes” are intertwined .
By introducing two different hands-on code learning workshops, this presentation examines how aesthetic production or critical thinking can be cultivated and developed through learning to code. We suggest connecting code with social and cultural issues through performing, showcasing and discussing code-related art and performance as a departure point to develop code or procedural literacy. Without losing sight of exploring code technically and creatively, the two hands-on workshops illustrate how the suggested aesthetic coding approach could be realized in both epistemic and practical levels. The first workshop was conducted in 2017 titled ‘Feminist coding in p5.js | Can Software be Feminist?’ by Winnie Soon  and the second case was conducted in 2016 titled “Rewriting the Hack” by a live coder Shelly Knotts and curator Suzy O’Hara . We argue that the practice of aesthetic coding provides epistemic insights to explore computational culture beyond creative coding, shedding lights on how to work with code across disciplines and to consider coding practice as a means to think critically, aesthetically and computationally.
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