The first issue of the new open-access journal Computational Culture publishes, among other fascinating works, Luciana Parisi and Stamatia Portanova's "Soft Thought (in Architecture and Choreography)", which explores the possibilities and potentials of digital code as autonomously aesthetic object.
This aesthetic of "soft thought", Parisi and Portanova argue, relies on neither the generative framework of software failure nor the conceptualisation of algorithm as bodily extension. Herein lies their deviation from glitch aestheticists such as Tony Sampson and Andy Clarke's extended functionalism. Parisi and Portanova consider two algorithm-based projects: "I've heard about it... (a flat, fat, growing urban experiment)" by R&Sie(n), in which urban structure is generated from random and contingent secretions; and the choreographical project "Synchronous Objects for One Flat Thing, reproduced" led by William Forsythe, Maria Palazzi and Norah Zuniga Shaw which seeks to reimagine dance through a variety of organisational structures. By departing from what they perceive as a dependency on matter and material realisations, Parisi and Portanova argue for a concept of soft thought which distinguishes algorithmic code as an aesthetic object by virtue of the abstraction, incompleteness and incomputability that infects and constitutes all algorithms.
"...we want to emphasise that the main limit of computation is not its incapacity to include material contingencies. Quite the opposite, computation, or the formal architecture of algorithms, only remains limited to a closed formalism if one does not take into consideration how algorithms themselves tend towards abstraction, infinity, or the reality of the incomputable."The journal "special issue", entitled "A billion gadget minds" also includes contributions by Michael Wheeler, Anna Munster and Ingmar Lippert. It can be found online here. Computational Culture is now inviting contributions for their second issue.