Documentation, Community, Notation 




My own thinking about the algorithmic was kind of informed by tutorials that I found online. In a way it’s linked to this conversation that we had before, where open source technology can still be a black box if you don’t know exactly how to engage with it. But that means that when you’re in this position of learning what you can do, it’s not that everything is a black box, but you are just highly influenced by the most documented, the most popular and the most used open source things. […] I have a passion for trying to document, trying to make these usable libraries, and I think that by contributing well documented things you actually contribute to useful difference even in open source communities. […]
I spend a lot of time doing this and I want to articulate how this is meaningful to my practice. […] What strategies are deemed to be successful or less successful in the community and what gets passed around, what gets documented. I’m interested in how knowledge gets passed around and how much of that knowledge gets passed through an algorithm itself being a google search engine. How practices in algorithmic music kind of stick to each other and how that in itself could create the sameness. Of course, it’s not that I’m saving the world by documenting, it’s more just thinking that by contributing to open source culture you renew it. I’m thinking for example about the dominance of Arduino: everyone uses Arduino rather thoughtlessly, because there is as much contribution to it. It’s not a terrible thing, it’s a pragmatic thought and it’s fine. I’m just saying that it solidifies practice. [...]

If you are experimenting you are subject to whatever you are exposed to first. And especially when you are working in technology, what you are exposed to first is what you can google.







I had a kind of related thought recently, because I’m working with a specific library, a specific algorithm that somebody else invented. But I want to understand how it works, so I’m reading through the source code, it’s useful to see how it is implemented. And I was seeing the little comments in the source code, and I thought about this sort of question whether the algorithmic agency also has to do with communicating from human to human *trough* the algorithm, through the notation.
When you think about writing an algorithm, writing the code, changing the code, saving it, giving it to other people […] when you say you want to make something available as a library and you want to help somebody who is working in a similar situation, I was thinking about these questions.
What does it mean to abstract in this sense of an algorithm that can be re-implemented or notated differently? What does the act of notation do to the algorithmic? What does this action of documentation mean? Not just in the sense of the notation as a reduction or the abstraction as a reduction, but also how that interferes with this agency of the algorithmic somehow. The machine as an interface between two humans. That might also then be related to this other situation of two people connected to sensors. It’s interesting to think about this constellation, as machine in between two humans, that could be also a useful perspective.

meta: true
persons: [HHR, EG]
kind: conversation
origin: spoken
keywords: [documentation, community, notation]