Talk: Computability, University of the Arts Bremen


October 30, 2017

Talk in the context of the seminar “Introduction to Digital Media” held by Peter von Maydell, Frieder Nake in the Winter Term 2017/18 at the University of the Arts Bremen.

The Bremen international Masters program of study is offered jointly by the University of Bremen and the University of the Arts, Bremen. They grant the degrees of a Master of Science (M.Sc.) and a Master of Art (M.A.), resp.

Goals are: Students gain a good understanding of Digital Media – conceptually, historically, technically, aesthetically, in theory and practice. When their friends ask them, what it is that they are doing, they should be able to explain in simple and clear terms. The seminar gains to establish the foundation for this.

Lecture description
We can understand programming codes as disembodied chains of actions, which have to be imprinted into a material via the intermediate stage of the sign system, in order to unfold their effect. In the course of programming, a translation process takes place, thought processes are transferred into machine action processes.
Thereby formalization, i.e. applicability independent of concrete insight, plays an important role. Formal methodology wants to create unreflected repeatability, a foundation of presuppositions that is always in play but does not always need to be updated. Codes describe objectified knowledge, which becomes operative through the execution of individual instructions. Programs are a form of action theory, which Holling and Kempin call implemented theory. An implementation is the conversion of a formal procedure – an algorithm – into a machine. There, the process can run completely detached from the programmer. In this picture, codes are the hinge that connects human thought with machine action.

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