Quality Software Engineering

Code As Art

I made music for a long time. Being an artist is a very big part of my identity. There came a point, after 15 years of making music, that I began to feel unable to break new ground. Then I discovered programming.

A lot of people, programmers included, don’t look at what we do as art. But to me, programming is one of the most powerful forms of art. Each program is a team or individual’s unique take on a solution to a problem. We solve problems with our art, but you can also use programming to facilitate others making art or even to make pure art yourself (ie, video games). As an artist, it is this polymorphic quality to code as art that makes it so unique and interesting.

When I was making music, after making something new I would often listen to it on a loop for another hour or so. I did this because what I had created was brand new and interesting. I find myself doing the same with my programs. I will often sit, scrolling the page up and down, looking at, and admiring, my code. Using the program doesn’t give me the same satisfaction as looking at the code that drives it. 

All my programmers out there, do you view your code as art too?

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2 responses

  1. Makes me think. For some years now i’ve sleep with my guitar at hand and each morning i play through my personal cloud of dream emotions into full waking. Most days anyways. What I’ve learned from doing that is that all forms of consciousness are pretty much the same. They flow in and out of one another. The media at hand- the music, the work, the clay of the day all get thumped in the same rhythms as they are shaped into reflections of you and your needs- . But each media is actually differently inspiring too. And the greatest feelings come from solving problems and creating viable tools, especially from using your special skills to make something that may actually help or be appreciated by somebody else.

    Music is real good for making sense of transitions. But you can get stuck in some not very viable mind sets unless you detach yourself. And detachment- that’s an art you can perform anywhere at all. You don’t need to play a tune while you’re about it. In programming just the high points count, the moments of problem solving eureks remain on the screen while the mistakes and the agonizing get forgotten. So looking back on your work is like seeing yourself as superman. Very uplifting. A musician if he wants real clean finished product to boost his ego needs to repeat the same basic forms ad nauseum . A programmer- like an engineer – can take on a diversity of problems. But everyone is different. The most fulfilling thing for me personally is maybe making people laugh. Or think. Which is nearly the same, just another mode.

    Like

    February 25, 2014 at 11:50 pm

  2. @shamari_feaster

    “But each media is actually differently inspiring too”

    I totally agree. The tool used to create the art influences the art itself. Staying with coding, I work totally different depending on what kind of monitor set up I have at hand. I tend to write more loosely grouped code when I have my monitors in portrait mode because I can see many more lines at once.

    “In programming just the high points count, the moments of problem solving eureks remain on the screen while the mistakes and the agonizing get forgotten. So looking back on your work is like seeing yourself as superman. ”

    You really captured the emotion of programming here.

    All in all, your insightful post really made me think. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really enjoyed taking in your perspective on the subject.

    Like

    February 26, 2014 at 10:07 am

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