Analysis out of the box

Code as structure: art from the electronic to digital age

Analysis out of the boxContemporary Art | The principle of coding is as old as humanity; from the Latin “codex”- a collection of laws - a term that itself comes from “caudex” which originally designated the trunk of a tree. This image illustrates the idea that memory is at play : any code implies written memory. All language is code, consisting of recording a memory so that it can circulate, musical scores are one example, and representational painting is another.

Robert Smithsom, 66 cryosphere © JMuseum
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Robert Smithsom, 66 cryosphere
© JMuseum

The work : contraction and expansion

Computer code is the contraction of a text or an image through its reduction into a binary chain of 0’s and 1’s, so that it may circulate and then resume its original form as image or text. Code works between contraction and expansion. The principle of computer encoding poses a stimulating challenge for many artists in the 1960’s : what would a visual artwork be that oscillates between a contracted, encoded form and a traditional physical existence?

Text : code and score

Several artists choose a type of contraction less reductive than computer encoding, working instead with textual formulations. Here, text acts as the contraction of an object or event, allowing for a physical […]

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Robert Smithsom, 66 cryosphere © JMuseum Robert Smithson,66 the cryosphere text © Jewish Museum Robert Smithsom, 66 cryosphere © J Museum Robert Smithsom, 66 cryosphere © J Museum Sol-Lewitt,wall-drawing 481 © Brooke Alexander gallery oct 2009- jan 2010 Lawrence Weiner, Regen project july-aug 2009 © Regen project Alexandra Gorczinski © Laffy Maffei Gallery

Robert Smithsom, 66 cryosphere
© JMuseum

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