Undef Print

This afternoon I accidentally found myself submitting tiny snippets of Javascript code to UndefPrint, and watching my submissions transform into prints almost instantly on a live video stream. The video showed a window to the street on the right side, and moving arms holding beer bottles on the left. In the center of the frame, a printer was drawing every submission on an interminable roll of paper. It was 8:30 PM in Berlin when I started looking. It was getting dark, and I stuck around until their clock hit midnight. I think it was 3:00 PM here in California. Ubiquity—to be present in several places at the same time—feels priceless. It even inspired me to write something in this journal for the first time in months ^_^

This exercise in Telematics and participation is just one out of many—Amodal Suspension by Ralfael Lozano-Hemmer and Absolut Quartet by Jeff Lieberman & Dan Paluska immediately come to mind—but it stands out in a particular way that is relevant to some of the work we were doing back in the PLW a few years ago. UndefPrint is only open to participants that can write code. The general public is excluded. At least a bit of knowledge of Javascript and computer science is required to get anything out of UndefPrint. The idea that code is a mode of expression in a way similar to simple speech, doodling, or any other gesture that can be performed in public is not new, but it is an important one, because it puts code next to activities that come naturally to most humans—like speech or hitting on a keyboard to produce sounds—even when coding doesn’t come naturally for anybody. Perhaps in the future we will be able to speak code—and math—the way we can sort out objects in a crowded room. One can only hope.

Here is the code that draws the pattern in the image above, the fifth in my series of submissions:

for (i=0;i<=pWidth();i++){
  for (j=0;j<=pHeight();j++){

And, some fooling around with triangular patterns:

Did I ever mention how much I like simple nested for-loops?

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