Re: ankoku techno (re:occult / trance)

Sun, 18 May 1997 11:51:23 +1000

Ricahrd Povall wrote:
> I have to agree with the original writer here and say that I also prefer
> mine to be brittle - or at least so in danger of collapse and incoherence
> that failure is always imminent. Maybe this is a personal failing -- but
> maybe it's just the will to subvert the technologies and put the performer
> into a place of danger.

Well, I suppose it depends on what one means by "brittle". The original
writer referred to programming. Bugs and crashes due to brittle code is
very frustrating. OTOH, getting software to do what its writers didn't
forsee or intend is subversion. Great, if you can do it, but if the machine
crashes during the process, you haven't subverted anything because there's
nothing to show for it. As for putting the performer into a place of danger,
he or she might just end up looking stupid if the computer-driven process
integral to the performance crashes. That's more like a place of stress.
Danger would be more like not quite knowing how the system will respond,
and _that_ can be designed into the process. (As a MAX user, how many
times have you used the random object?)

> The most interesting technologies are those that
> are wide open, particularly software packages that are merely environments
> with few set parameters. Of course they have reached a certain level of
> robustness - but they are still capable of crashing or doing unpredictable
> things.

Like MAX, which is very open-ended, very robust (even if some of its objects
aren't -- and let's remember that many are written by third parties), and
will sometimes crash. But then the manual does say that certain things will
crash the software or the computer... to do those isn't dangerous, just
stupid, assuming ofcourse that you didn't want it to crash! So often,
lack of robustness is a result of what the user does, not an inherent fault
in the software environment.

> Once the computer market becomes limited to Word for Windows and
> whatever else Bill decides I _need_, I'm leaving...

Bill doesn't decide what I need; I do, and occasionally it's what Bill would
like me to have, but that's got nothing to do with him.

I doubt we'll ever be _that_ limited. Unless Bill hires all the programmers
in the world and shuts down every computer publisher and comp sci course
in the world!

> There _is_ an element of
> abjection - to the corporate pushers, to the programming monoliths,

It's nice to think that every time I turn off my computer I'm causing some
suit in Seattle a bit of pain, but, hey, I've already bought the stuff. What
I do with it after that is not the vendor's concern -- the buck has been

Regards, David