Computer Program as an Artefact

At first, the computer program is neutral and exists only in terms devoid of any reference other than to itself. The program is its function. It is a tool. It does something; it instructs a computer to perform a task. Its working is often imperceptible beyond the surface of its interface – screen based or physical – the material extension to the inner depths of its digital structure, the code. Focusing solely on a functional aspect of software limits our engagement with its wider assemblage of connotations beyond technical analysis. Beyond the functional and ostensible neutrality of its interface the software is an artefact, as Matthew Fuller points out: “software creates sensoriums” and participates in constructing “ways of seeing, knowing and doing in the world”. The software both contains a model of a world it ostensibly pertains to and it shapes the world each time it is used. The operative premise of the work ’The New Pulsar Generator Manual’ is a process of systematic engagement with complexities of the computer program as an artefact…

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